Skip Nav
Healthy Recipes
Help! My Sweet Tooth Can't Decide Which of These 40+ Baked Desserts to Make First
Fitness Gear
Bye-Bye, Expensive Classes — These 14 Amazon Products Will Help You Practice Yoga at Home
Celebrity Instagrams
How 50 Members of Bachelor Nation Keep Their Health in Check
Healthy Snacks
12 Low-Carb Protein Bars That Will Help You Survive Particularly Long Days
Best Way to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
Weight Loss
Forget Crash Diets: These Are the Habits That Will Help You Shed Those Pounds For Good

Exercise For Mental Health Study

Regular Exercise Can Boost Mental Health, According to Largest US Study

Photographer: Them TooEditorial and internal use only. No advertising or print.

There's a reason it's called a runner's high: you get a rush of feel-good endorphins after a particularly tough sweat sesh, whether that's a run around the neighborhood, killing it in the weight room, or a high-intensity Spin class. But now, a new study — the largest of its kind in the US — says that regular exercise can boost mental health, decreasing the number of days a month you feel depressed.

The study, which analyzed data from 1.2 million US people aged 18 and older, found that those who exercised regularly had fewer days of poor mental health than those who didn't. Those taking part in the study experienced an average of 3.4 days of poor mental health each month, but the people who were active only reported two days of poor mental health. For people who had been diagnosed with depression, the improvement was even greater: seven days of poor mental health for the exercisers compared to 11 days for those who didn't exercise.

However, the study found that more exercise isn't always better; the sweet spot was 30-60 minutes every other day, or about 45 minutes three to five days a week. The most positive associations were also seen in groups who participated in popular team sports, cycling, and aerobic and gym activities.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although exercise provides a huge mental health benefit, this study can't confirm that physical activity was the cause of improved mental health in the study's participants. Depression and other mental illness should be treated by your doctor or other mental healthcare provider who can recommend an exact course of treatment. Working out may help, but it's not necessarily a replacement for medication, therapy, and other lifestyle factors.



Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds