The BBC reports that:
“Regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week can reduce poor mental health – but doing more than that is not always beneficial, a large US study suggests.
“Among people who had been diagnosed previously with depression, exercise appeared to have a larger effect …”
A total of 1.2 million people reported their activity levels for a month and rated their mental wellbeing.
People who exercised had 1.5 fewer “bad days” a month than non-exercisers, the study found.
Team sports, cycling and aerobics had the greatest positive impact.
All types of activity were found to improve mental health no matter people’s age or gender, including doing the housework and looking after the children.
The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, is the largest of its kind to date but it cannot confirm that physical activity is the cause of improved mental health.
Previous research into the effects of exercise on mental health have thrown up mixed results, and some studies suggest that lack of activity could lead to poor mental health as well as being a symptom of it.
Exercise is already known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Adults taking part in the study said they experienced on average 3.4 days of poor mental health each month. For those who were physically active, this reduced to only two days.
Among people who had been diagnosed previously with depression, exercise appeared to have a larger effect, resulting in seven days of poor mental health a month compared with nearly 11 days for those who did no exercise …”
Read more here.