A new and significant research has suggested that exercising for more than 90 minutes a day could make mental health worse. Yale University and Oxford University looked at the fitness regimes of 1.2 million people to analyze how often they felt disheartened or stressed out. This research can be regarded as the largest study of its kind of researches.
People who were not used to any extra physical activities said they felt depressed or stressed for an average of 3.4 days of the month. On the contrary, those who exercised regularly reported just two days, citing a 43 percent reduction.
But a recent research found out that more exercise is not always good for our health. Instead, 45 minutes of exercise for three to five times a week is more beneficial for health.
Those people who have exercised for a duration of 90 minutes continuously, suffer up to one day extra of poor psychological strength each month compared to those who are trapped for 45 minutes every session.
Dr. Adam Chekroud, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University said, “Previously, people believed that the more exercise you do, the better your mental health, but our study suggests that this is not the case, doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90 minute sessions is associated with worse mental health.”
“It’s difficult to speculate what is driving the effect. It is easy to imagine why someone might have poor mental health if they are exercising more 6 or 7 days per week. They could be getting run down (physically exhausted) or burned out (mentally), both of which might make them feel stressed or depleted.” Chekroud added.
Exercise is known to help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease; improving one’s mood; and decrease the tendency of feeling depressed. Exercising also helps in controlling blood pressure, diabetes, while increasing brain sensitivity for the hormones. However, the relation of exercise with mental health is not so clear yet.
The study conducted on exercise encompasses all types of physical activities ranging from childcare to housework; lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling; running and skiing; and also going to the gym. Almost all types of exercises help in strengthening mental health, but the strongest benefits were seen for the team sports, cycling, aerobic and gym exercise that saw a decrease in poor mental health days of 22.3 %, 21.6 %, and 20.1 %, respectively.
Daily household chores even catalyzed the improvement of around 10 percent, which amounts to nearly half a day less depression or stresses each month.
Prof Stephen Lawrie, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh commented on the study that was published in The Lancet Psychiatry as. He remarked, “I would summarize the results as indicating that activity is good for mental health – but that one can do too much. Every second day for 45-60 mins might be optimal. ”
“Certainly, the results suggest that exercising every day is associated with worse mental health. I suspect we all know people who seem ‘addicted’ to exercise and if this starts to impact on other aspects of life – like foregoing social activities because one has to be up at the crack of dawn to run several miles – it might actually be bad for people.”
NIHR Clinical Lecturer, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Dr. Brendon Stubbs said, “ The message reinforces government guidelines, which recommends that people should seek to achieve over 150 minutes of physical activity per week, which could include 30 minutes 5 times a week.”
Brendon Stubbs added, “The good news is that lots of different types of physical activity appear to be associated with better mental health. Thus, the key message from this paper and the wider literature is that people should find a physical activity they enjoy and try and do it regularly but just getting started is the key.”