Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.

Exercise has the ability to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Over 100 clinical studies support the brain benefits of exercise. Exercise works as well as an antidepressant and can double the rate of response to antidepressants when used together. When it comes to prevention, exercise may work even better than an antidepressant. Additionally, exercise has the added benefit of reducing risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and helping to achieve and maintain weight reduction.

Other health benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Better endurance
  • Stress relief
  • Improvement in mood
  • Increased energy and mental alertness
  • Weight reduction

How much exercise is enough?

Only 30 minutes of moderate intensity, like taking a brisk walk 3 days a week, is enough to gain the health benefits.Thirty minutes of exercise of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking for 3 days a week, is sufficient for these health benefits. Also, these 30 minutes to not have to be continuous. Three 10 minute walks are believed to be just as useful as one 30-minute walk.

When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. The Center’s for Disease Control provides the following guidelines:

To maintain your weight: Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. Strong scientific evidence shows that physical activity can help you maintain your weight over time. However, the exact amount of physical activity needed to do this is not clear since it varies greatly from person to person. It’s possible that you may need to do more than the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to maintain your weight.

To lose weight and keep it off: You will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your diet and reduce the amount of calories you’re eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan.

Additional Resources