Exercise and mental health


May 2, 2008
John Hookham

A recent study found that as little as 20 minutes of physical activity a week can boost your mood. The more intensive the activity, the greater the effect.

Associating sports and physical activity with well being is hardly a new way of thinking, but the effect on mental health has so far never been measured.

“For the new study, almost 20,000 men and women participating in the 1995, 1998 and 2003 Scottish Health Surveys answered questionnaires about physical activity and “psychological distress.”

Daily physical activity of any kind — including housework, gardening, walking, and sports — was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of psychological distress. But sports reduced the risk of mood lows the most — by 33 percent.”

Twenty minutes a week translates into just under three minutes a day, a good starting point for a daily exercise routine.

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