Exercise Can Help You Battle Depression

When I was a kid, I preferred to stay inside and read or watch TV. I remember disliking exercise so much that in a debate class I stupidly advocated to remove PE requirements at school, and now as an adult, I have done a 180 and finally see the beauty of living an active life.

Our health should be our number one priority, because without it, we don't have shit. You can be the richest person or the most beautiful person in the world, but if you aren't healthy, then you aren't happy.

Exercise not only makes you feel stronger and more energetic, but it can also battle depression. Buzzfeed News reported that a new study surveyed 1.2 million people and found that exercise can boost our moods.

"Overall, people reported having an average of 3.5 days of poor mental health in any given month, according to the report published in the Lancet Psychiatry," Buzzfeed said. "Just about any exercise — including walking or housework — helped reduce that number by an average of 1.5 days a month, or 43%. Team sports, cycling, and aerobic and gym exercises had the biggest effect, reducing poor mental health days by about 20%. Walking, on the other hand, was linked to a 10% reduction."

The people who benefited the most exercised 30-60 minutes/3-5 times a week. People who worked out more than an hour or less did not benefit as much as people who hit the golden amount of 45 minutes a session. 

"It's not like everyone has to go and run a marathon, and actually running wasn’t even the most effective," researcher Adam Chekroud said BuzzFeed News. "Things like yoga, things like walking, even household chores, seemed to have some benefit over doing nothing at all."

People who were clinically diagnosed with depression reported that exercise helped their mental health. Those who exercised reported about 7 days a month of not feeling good, compared to almost 11 days of sadness for those who weren't physically active. 

The study also found that group exercise was the most beneficial form of exercise to battle depression. Humans are social creatures, and even the shyest ones benefit from the energy of a friend; and humans also crave order. Thus, sports are the most useful activity at helping our mental health because they provide team camaraderie combined with structure.