Regular Exercise ‘Best for Mental Health’

When it comes to “bad” and “good” days for feelings of well-being and mental health, exercise plays a big part in reducing the number of bad days. Researchers recorded activity levels and reports of mental well-being of 1.2 million people — the largest study of its type to date — and found team sports, cycling and aerobics had the greatest positive impact.

Study authors cautioned that while their findings do not prove a cause-and-effect of improved mental health, but they did find that being active for 30 to 60 minutes every other day came out as an optimal routine for feeling better mentally, BBC reports. The authors also said they found that exercising more than 23 times a month or longer than 90 minutes at a time was detrimental.

The joys of exercise can be felt in many forms, not the least of which is how good your body feels when you give it the motion it was meant to have. When you add in the emotional and psychological feelings of well-being, the benefits are just, well, wonderful. In fact, many studies have shown that depression can be prevented with just one hour of exercise a week!

The good news is that different types of exercise can contribute to those feel-good feelings, from aerobic activities to simple strength training. Specifically, a meta-analysis of 33 trials involving nearly 2,000 people showed that strength training led to a significant reduction in depressive symptoms, and this held true regardless of the participant's health status, improvements in strength or how much strength training they completed.

Ideally, you'll want to incorporate a variety of types of exercise, including high-intensity interval training, strength training and flexibility work, such as yoga or stretching. Fortunately, each has unique benefits for your mind and body. One of my personal choices for feeling good all over is the Nitric Oxide Dump, which can be done anywhere, anytime in a very short period of time.

The bottom line is virtually all types of physical activity appear to be great for your mood and may even facilitate healing from depression. If you're currently sedentary, adding even a small amount of activity to your routine may be enough for you to experience a noticeable mental change, and you can gradually increase the amount over time.
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