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Exercise best defence against deep abdominal belly fat. Pixabay

Engaging in exercises such as cycling, aerobics and gymming for more than three hours a day can worsen mental health than not exercising at all, a study has found.

The study, published in journal The Lancet Psychiatry, found that people who exercised between three and five times a week had better mental health than people who exercised less or more each week.


Conversely, people doing extreme amounts of exercise might have obsessive characteristics which could place them at greater risk of poor mental health, the researchers said.

“Previously, people have believed that the more exercise you do, the better your mental health, but our study suggests that this is not the case,” said Adam Chekroud, Assistant Professor at Yale University in the US.

“Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90 minute sessions is associated with worse mental health,” he added.


People who exercised between three and five times a week had better mental health than people who exercised less or more each week. Pixabay

Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and mortality from all causes, but its association with mental health remains unclear.

For the study, the team used data from 1.2 million adults across all 50 US states and included all types of physical activity, ranging from childcare, housework, lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling, going to the gym, running and skiing.

Team sports, cycling, aerobics and going to the gym were associated with the biggest reductions — 22.3 per cent, 21.6 per cent, and 20.1 per cent, respectively.

Also Read: Exercise Could Reduce Irregular Heart Rate Risk in Obese People: Study

For people who had previously been diagnosed with depression, exercise was associated with 3.75 fewer days of poor mental health.

Even completing household chores was associated with reduction in poor mental health days of around 10 per cent, or around half a day less each month, the researchers said.

“Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and there is an urgent need to find ways to improve mental health through population health campaigns,” Chekroud said. (IANS)


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Children exposed to high levels of air pollution are up to 50 per cent more likely to self-harm later in life, suggested a study

Children exposed to high levels of air pollution are up to 50 per cent more likely to self-harm later in life, suggested a study that adds to evidence of link between air pollution and mental health problems. Researchers from the University of Manchester in England and Aarhus University examined 1.4million kids under 10 in Denmark and found that those exposed to a high level of nitrogen dioxide were more likely to self harm in adulthood than their peers, the Daily Mail reported.

And people in the same age group exposed to above average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were 48 per cent more likely to subsequently self-harm, revealed the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by cars, while PM2.5 is mainly emitted by burning diesel and petrol, which is most commonly used for shipping and heating. These two pollutants are among those most commonly linked with causing harm to physical health, such as heart and lung diseases, by getting into the bloodstream and causing inflammation.

"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok, a research fellow at Manchester University was quoted as saying. "Although air pollution is widespread, it is a modifiable risk factor and we therefore hope our study findings will inform policymakers who are devising strategies to combat this problem," Mok added.

grayscale photo of a girl in garden "Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok | Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

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