by Colin Bulter
Vertex Education Ambassador – Fitness
Did You Know?
30 minutes exercise 3 times a week can be more effective at helping with mental health symptoms than drugs or therapy.
*Citations are available at the end of the article
While it’s well-known that taking care of your physical health is important, taking time to care for your mental health is equally as important, even though it can be tough to do in today’s fast-paced world.
Adding exercise to your weekly or daily routine can have incredible benefits in helping with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Physical Activity Helps HOW MUCH?
According to research, physical activity can be as much as 1.5 times more effective in reducing mental health symptoms.
The Kind of Exercise You Do Matters.
Different styles of exercise affect anxiety and depression differently.
Resistance training has the largest impact on symptoms of depression. Mind-body workouts like yoga have a bigger impact on symptoms of anxiety, and moderate-intensity and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) help with both.
How Often and How Long Should You Work Out?
For most people, 30 minutes, three to five times a week, is more than enough. 10-15 minutes two to three times a day will improve your mood.
The exercise doesn’t have to be intense. Going for a walk outside or an at-home bodyweight workout are great options because you can do them quickly and consistently with your daily schedule.
Incorporating Exercise into Your Mental Wellness Routine
Here are a few quick tips to help get you started:
Choose Activities that Work for YOU.
Identify types of physical activity that work for you, whether that be jogging, yoga, or swimming. It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
Find a Workout Buddy.
Find a workout buddy, join a fitness class, or set small, achievable goals to help you stay motivated. Turning exercise into a social event is a great way to stay consistent and recharge your social batteries.
Schedule and Track Progress.
Make exercise a habit by setting a regular workout schedule, keeping track of your progress, and rewarding yourself for reaching your goals.
Heissel A, Heinen D, Brokmeier LL, et al. Exercise as medicine for depressive symptoms? A systematic review and meta-analysis with meta-regression. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 01 February 2023.
Singh B, Olds T, Curtis R, et al. Effectiveness of physical activity interventions for improving depression, anxiety and distress: an overview of systematic reviews. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: 16 February 2023.
- Exercise could be the first line of attack in mental health treatment (newatlas.com)
- Exercise should be in your mental wellness toolkit, doctor says (clickorlando.com)
- Exercise 1.5 times more effective than drugs for depression, anxiety (medicalnewstoday.com)