Doing 150 Minutes of Exercise Per Week Can Ease Anxiety and Depression

Exercise and Mental Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that healthy adults aged between 18-64 complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

And, science is now in agreeance.

A joint study between the University of South Australia and Medical School Hamburg studied 682 German recreational athletes to measure their levels of anxiety and depression in relation to exercise.

According to the University of South Australia, the study assessed these athletes “under different sport conditions (amount and intensity), settings (indoor vs outdoors) and contexts (individual or team sports).”

Those who participated in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week were found to experience better mental health than those who didn’t.

And, individuals who exercised less than 2.5 hours a week had an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

While exercise was always thought to help alleviate these issues, a specific amount of movement hadn’t been locked down.

“Understanding the factors that can influence or alleviate depression and anxiety are essential but, until now, there’s been insufficient proof about the optimal types — or amounts — of activity needed for positive mental health,” said Katja Siefken, one of the study’s authors who is based in Adelaide.

“In this study, we found that people who did not meet physical activity recommendations, reported higher depression scores, independent of whether they practised indoors or outdoors, individually, or in a team.”

There was also a substantial difference between those who carried out their movement indoors versus those who exercised outdoors.

“We also found that the lowest depression and anxiety scores mostly occurred among indoor team athletes, but that athletes undertaking vigorous-intensity physical exercise often recorded higher levels of depression,” Siefken said.

“There is also good evidence that outdoor exercise contributes to improved mental health and that doing sports together, or as part of a team, may positively impact our mental health substantially.”

Completing 150 minutes of exercise per week is completely achievable — it works out to be only 21 minutes of movement per day, so you don’t need to be slaving away in the gym for two hours if you don’t want to.

Keep in mind that exercise is super personal, so whether you prefer exercising indoors or outdoors, it’s completely up to you! Simply aim to move your body a little every day to maintain optimal physical and mental health.

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