Me and my wife try to exercise everyday…
During these trying times, exercise could provide indispensable mental-health support for many of us, according to a timely new study. The study finds that among a generally healthy but sedentary group of adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s, working out lowers levels of depression, hostility and other negative feelings.
The study also finds that the mood benefits of exercise can linger for weeks after people stop working out, offering another compelling reason for us to try to move, whenever and wherever we still can, during this coronavirus crisis.
There is plenty of evidence, of course, that physical activity affects mental health. In earlier studies, regular exercise substantially reduces risks for clinical depression among people with a genetic predisposition to the condition and helps to treat serious depression if it develops. Likewise, regular exercise often alleviates the severity of anxiety disorders, other research shows.
But those studies generally involved people with serious clinical conditions. In people without mood disorders, exercise research has been squishier.
Epidemiological studies show associations between physical activity and lower levels of depression, anxiety, hostility and other bad moods. But those studies were observational, meaning they looked at people’s lives and found links between regular exercise and buoyant moods. They cannot tell us whether the exercise actually causes people to feel cheerful and resilient, only that active people tend also to be relatively happy people….
And if outdoor activities seem unwise where you are, substitute online exercise classes, she says, or bounce around the living room with your children. “Whatever physical activity you can manage is great,” she says, and could help to lift your spirits, and those of everyone around you.