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1.2 Million-Person Study Shows How Much Exercise You Need to Benefit Mental Health

mental health benefits of exercise

Story at-a-glance -

  • Exercise three to five days a week for 45 minutes is the “sweet spot” that leads to the greatest mental health gains
  • Going beyond this and exercising for more than five days a week or for more than 90 minutes per session was linked to worse mental health
  • On average, people reported 3.5 days of “not good” mental health during the month, but among those who exercised, that number dropped to two
  • All types of exercise improved mental health, including that from housework, lawn mowing, child care and fishing, but three stood out above the rest in terms of offering the greatest mental health gains: team sports, cycling, and aerobic and gym activities

By Dr. Mercola

It's no secret that exercise is beneficial for your physical and mental health. Less clear, however, is how much exercise it takes to achieve meaningful benefits. Increasingly, we're seeing that less is more when it comes to exercise, provided it's done correctly and at high enough intensity.

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