Tags: exercise | mental | health

Exercise Found Good for Body and Mind

Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 11:10 AM


You already know exercise is good for your body. But new research out of the Netherlands has also found it’s good for your mind, too.
In a new report in Clinical Psychological Science, Trimbos Institute researchers have determined daily physical activity can also boost our mental health, in part by boosting self-image and fostering positive social interactions with other exercisers.
Trimbos lead researcher Karin Monshouwer and colleagues said the findings, which are based on a study of 7,000 adolescents, are particularly significant for growing children, teens and young adults.
"We think that these findings are important for policymakers and anyone who works in healthcare or prevention,” said Monshouwer. “Our findings indicate that physical activity may be one effective tool for the prevention of mental health problems in adolescence."
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For the new study, researchers surveyed teens to determine whether exercise promotes mental health by boosting self-image – tied to improvements in body weight and shape that lead to positive feedback from peers – or by promoting social relationships and mutual support among other exercise buffs.
The surveys assessed participants’ physical activity, mental health problems, body weight, participation in organized sports, socioeconomic status, home life, and other factors.
These results indicated both psychosocial factors – improved body image and social interaction – help to explain the connection between physical activity and mental health. They added, however, that other factors, such as the physiological effects of exercise, may also at work.
In addition, researchers found adolescents who were physically inactive or who perceived themselves as "too fat" or "too thin" were at greater risk for depression, anxiety, aggression, and substance abuse. Those who participated in organized sports, on the other hand, were at lower risk for mental health problems.
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New research has determined why exercise is good for both mental and physical health.
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2012-10-27
Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 11:10 AM
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