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