A large-scale study has found that just 45 minutes of physical exercise three to five times a week can improve mental wellbeing.
According to the US study of 1.2 million people, people who exercised regularly had fewer “bad days” a month than their non-exercising counterparts. Furthermore, while activities such as cycling, aerobics and team sports had the greatest positive impact, all types of physical activity, including things like doing household chores and looking after kids, were found to improve mental health.
Moreover, people who had previously been diagnosed with a mental health condition like depression were found to afford the greatest benefits.
The optimal routine identified by the researchers was being physically active for 30 to 60 minutes every second day. More interesting is the researchers’ finding that too much exercise can have a negative impact.
Dr Adam Chekroud, study author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University, said: "Previously, people have believed that the more exercise you do, the better your mental health, but our study suggests that this is not the case.
"Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90-minute sessions is associated with worse mental health."
The findings of the study are published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal.