New Research Shows A Small Amount Of Exercise Daily Has Big Effects On Your Mental Health


By now, the importance of exercise has been ground into our heads. And while some of us are willing to do almost anything to improve our health, others point out it’s not clear how much you have to do to achieve which goals. More and more, it looks like surprisingly little time getting sweaty can still lead to some fairly major effects.

The Guardian has a long overview of the various effects even a small amount of daily exercise has, and it’s a bit surprising. The focus has shifted from getting into the gym to just getting off your butt instead of sitting all day, and it can be the difference, in some cases, between life and death:

We have the sitting disease. According to a report by Public Health England (PHE) in March, physical inactivity is one of the top 10 causes of disease and disability in England. It is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK, which is the same as smoking. It costs the UK an estimated £7.4bn a year.

A little caution does need to be applied here. For example, claims that “exercise prevents depression” aren’t entirely true. Digging through the actual study, exercise seemed to help 12% of an extremely large study group prevent new-onset depression. That’s an interesting result, and it reinforces exercise can help with mental health. But why, and how, we’re not sure yet, and it’s not clear if exercise will help with current conditions.

But there are other results, and science keeps turning up more of them. More interestingly, what seems to matter more is that you’re up and about, not necessarily hitting the rowing machine constantly. Back in 2015, the Mayo Clinic discovered that fifteen minutes of walking a day dramatically cut heart disease risk. The main problem is misconceptions about exercise and its role in health. Exercise can do a lot for you, for example, but weight loss will have to come from watching what you eat. And certain types of exercise can, uh, negatively impact your health in more dramatic ways.

In other words? Take a few minutes every day, get a walk and some pushups in. Catch some Pokemon. And don’t beat yourself up that you’re not hitting the gym every single day; increasingly, science says you’re better off being active in general.

(via The Guardian)