Recent studies have shown that certain kinds of workouts can be beneficial to not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. So, the logic would be that the more you work out the more your mental health would be in shape (and maybe your biceps too.) However, that isn’t necessarily how it works.
New research, published Wednesday in the Lancet Psychiatry, finds that working out between two and six hours every week for about 45 minutes per session is all that is needed to keep your mental health intact. The authors of the study looked at the responses of more than 1.2 million U.S. adults who responded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey between 2011 and 2015. The questions looked into exercise and lifestyle habits, health histories and mental health status and struggles.
Too much exercise can be bad for your mental health
They found that the participants who worked out a few times per week and did moderate workouts had better mental health results than people who had exercise regimes more similar to someone training for a Triathalon or some sort of competition. Specifically, people going to the gym five or more times per week saw more rough mental health days than those who went between 3 and 5 days.
Good to know that you don’t need to make yourself feel bad for skipping a workout a few days a week, but definitely don’t nix them all together.
To give you some context the NIMH estimates that 16 million adults in the U.S. (nearly 7% of the population) had at least one major depressive episode in 2012 and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.