Exercise can help prevent and treat mental health problems, and taking it outside adds another boost to those benefits

Article written by Scott Lear, Professor of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, The Conversation

*Click here to read the full article*

Article highlights:

  • Mental health problems affect 1 in 5 people every year.
  • Exercise can prevent and treat mental illness.
  • Greatest benefits occurred in those people who exercise 45 minutes or more, 3 or more days per week.
  • Even shorter sessions (as little as 10 minutes) can make a difference.
  • Doesn’t matter what type of activity you do – even active household chores.
  • A meta-analysis revealed as little as four weeks of exercise reduced symptoms of depression in people with major depressive disorder.
  • Higher intensity exercise appears to be more effective than low intensity, but exercise is beneficial at all intensity levels.
  • Exercise results in the release of endorphins (feel good hormones) and endocannabinoids (reduces pain and improves mood).
  • Exercising in nature can further improve mental well-being.
  • People who spent at least two hours in nature over the course of a week reported higher well-being compared to those who had no contact with nature.

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