It’s well known that exercise can improve our physical fitness, prevent chronic diseases and improve our mental health. So it may seem logical that the more you do, the better it is for us. However, a new study suggests that’s not always the case, at least when it comes to mental health.
When digging further into the numbers, the researchers noticed an interesting pattern: People who exercised for a moderate amount of time (about 45 minutes per session) saw better mental health results than those who favored marathon workouts. Similarly, sweating three to five times a week was associated with a bigger reduction in poor mental health days than either not exercising at all or hitting the gym more than five times a week, according to the research. Together, these results led the researchers to conclude that exercising for two to six hours a week may be the sweet spot for mental health.
Read the whole article at Time.
More at BBC
Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times:
Walk for two minutes. Repeat 15 times. Or walk for 10 minutes, thrice. The benefits for longevity appear to be almost exactly the same, according to an inspiring new study of physical activity patterns and life spans.
It finds that exercise does not have to be prolonged in order to be beneficial. It just has to be frequent.
Most of us who are interested in health know that federal exercise guidelines recommend we work out moderately for at least 30 minutes per day at least five times per week in order to reduce our risks of developing many diseases or dying prematurely.
This study was different from most, in that it looked at the participants’ maximum oxygen consumption during aerobic exercise — known as the V02 max.
Yet again another study indicates exercise, this time aerobic exercise, is important in slowing the brain’s aging process.
David DiSalvo, Forbes:
What these results tell us about the role exercise might play in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s is difficult to nail down. While studies like this suggest that exercising more strengthens the brain against the debilitation leading to severe dementia, definitive answers are still elusive. We don’t know, for example, the amount of exercise that makes a difference, if specific types of exercise are better than others, or whether starting exercise later in life can forestall the progression of dementia.
What we do have are solid indications that we should think of exercise and brain health in a similar way to exercise and heart health. Some of the same benefits exercise provides the heart—like improved blood flow and lower inflammation—also benefit the brain. More evidence along those lines keeps coming, further supporting the case that staying active is a better policy for brain health than the alternative.