The Connection Between Exercise and Mental Health
Do a simple Pubmed search on the link between exercise and mental health, and you’ll find more relevant articles than you can count. Coincidence? No way. Researchers as far back as the 1930’s identified strong relationships between amounts and types of physical exercise used in treatments, and the positive mental effects they had on those patients (Davis, 1930). Since then, countless studies have been performed, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. A comprehensive study from 1985 found that “physical activity and exercise probably alleviate some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression. The evidence also suggests that physical activity and exercise might provide a beneficial adjunct for alcoholism and substance abuse programs; improve self-image, social skills, and cognitive functioning; reduce the symptoms of anxiety…” (Taylor, 1985). These benefits are known worldwide as well, with groups such as Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) stating that “Exercise appears most effective for depressive disorders and may also improve mental well-being and physical health in individuals with serious mental disorders” (Morgan, 2013); while a Chinese study from 1997 on college and middle-school students found that “physical exercises were helpful to reduce students’ tension, anger, fatigue, depression and confusion, and improve their vigor and self-esteem” (Biyan, 1997) . These are just a few of what are thousands of reports of the positive effects of physical exercise on mental health. The relationship is not limited by nationality, age or time-period – it’s abundantly clear that physical exercise boosts mental health.