Mental Health Week: Becoming A Better You

Picture of Laura McDermott

Curated by Laura McDermott

It’s European Mental Health Week - the theme is “Speak up for mental health.” Here, we focus on how exercise can benefit mental wellbeing.

  • Seventy-five minutes - this is the exact amount of time a person should exercise weekly, in order to fight depression. These were the findings of a team of scientists at the University of Cambridge.
  • The study compiled findings from 15 studies, each analyzing health outcomes of 191,130 adults - 28,000 of whom had depression. Scientists believe exercise has a protective effect on the brain.
  • Depression is the leading cause of mental-health related disease, it affects around 280 million people globally. It has also been linked to increased mortality rates.
  • Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, chemicals that lift the mood. They also increase the size of your hippocampus, a part of your brain which improves spatial memory and nerve connections.
  • Exercise does not exclusively alleviate symptoms of depression, but also tackles an array of other mental health problems.
  • Additionally, people are trialing other physical activities that aid mental wellbeing also. One example is cold water therapy, which has multiple proven benefits for the body and mind.
The Guardian
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5 articles on this topic

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75 minutes of exercise a week can help fight depression, new study finds

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Knowable Magazine

Exercise boosts the brain — and mental health

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Marie Claire

Cold water therapy: 10 proven benefits of the Wim Hof method

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The Conversation

How do I improve my motivation to exercise when I really hate it? 10 science-backed tips

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