Harvard Study Finds Convincing Evidence That Exercising Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself


It’s officially fall, and then urge to slip into fleece sweatpants, sink into your couch, and polish off a twelve pack of seasonal beer is at its strongest point of the calendar year. Physical fitness has likely fallen a few notches on your ‘To Do’ list, so a little motivation to get moving may be necessary.

There are no shortage of studies out there that prove that aerobic exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul, but just to hammer the point home, the Harvard Medical School revealed just how beneficial getting a sweat in is for your general existence.

“Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart,” says an article in a Harvard Medical School blog.

Now the typical message from experts is to get in at least 30-45 minutes of heart rate-raising physical activity, but the latest study found that doing any kind of workout — whether for five minutes or 45 — can have beneficial effects on mental health, Business Insider reports. Score.

And this wasn’t just some rinky dink study done by a couple of Harvard undergrads, it is the “largest long-term study of its kind to look at the link between exercise and mental health, with a special focus on depression.” The study, which was published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, studied nearly 34,000 Norwegian adults over 11 years and had them report how often they exercised each week, for how long, and how depressed and anxious they felt afterwards.

The findings: as little as one hour of exercise each week helped to combat depressive feelings. And we’re not just talking an hour of intense cross-fit, even people who went on a long walk or slow jog were a lot less likely to report signs of depression than those who didn’t exercise at all.

As Business Insider points out, aerobic workouts help reduce levels of the body’s natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and can been integral in fighting against age-related brain disease in older people, memory loss, and difficulties focusing.

If you’re like me, the last thing you want to do after coming home from the office is change into workout clothes and put your body through a workout. If anything, hopefully this study can provide you a little more motivation to carve out a routine for yourself. The hardest part is starting.

[h/t Business Insider]