Researchers looking at the link between physical activity and mental health found that team sports fared best, followed by cycling, either on the road or a stationary bike.
The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry this month, is among the first of its kind, and the largest, analyzing the effect of different types of exercise.
It found that physical activity typically performed in groups, such as team sports and gym classes, provided greater benefits than running or walking.
Researchers rated mental health based on a survey. It asked respondents how many days in the previous month their mental health was “not good” due to stress, depression or problems with emotions.
People who played team sports like soccer and basketball reported 22.3% fewer poor mental-health days than those who didn’t exercise. Those who ran or jogged fared 19% better, while those who did household chores 11.8% better.
In a secondary analysis, the researchers found that yoga and tai chi—grouped into a category called recreational sports in the original analysis—had a 22.9% reduction in poor mental-health days. (Recreational sports included everything from yoga to golf to horseback riding.)
Adam Chekroud, the senior author on the study, is a chief scientist and co-founder of Spring Health, a New York City-based mental-health startup, and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University. He says team sports may have an extra benefit because of the social component, and yoga/tai chi promote mindfulness, which is often touted as beneficial for mental health.
这篇研究文章的第一作者Adam Chekroud是一名首席科学家，也是纽约精神健康创业公司Spring Health的联合创始人，还是耶鲁大学精神病学的助理教授。他说团体运动含有社交成分，所以会有额外的好处，而瑜伽/太极能提升正念，而这正是人们经常说的对心理健康有益的因素。
He would like to explore with further research why some activities scored higher than others to see if exercise regimes can be personalized to choose the most relevant and helpful type.
The researchers also found that those who exercise between 30 and 60 minutes had the best mental health, with 45 minutes the optimal duration. Exercising three to five times a week correlated with fewer dark days.
More exercise wasn’t always better. “Over 90 minutes of exercise and there isn’t an extra benefit,” Dr. Chekroud says.
The study analyzed the exercise habits and mental health of 1.2 million U.S. adults, based on self-reported answers to survey questions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It wasn’t a randomized controlled study and therefore didn’t prove causality, just an association between exercise and better mental health. It can’t explain if poor mental health causes people to exercise less or exercise causes people to have better mental health.
这项研究分析了120万名美国成年人的运动习惯与心理健康状况，以受访者对美国疾病控制与预防中心(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)调查问卷的自我评断回答为基础。它并不是一项随机对照研究，因此并不能论证因果关系，只能说明运动与较好的心理健康状况之间存在联系。它也不能解释较差的心理健康状况是否会导致人们减少运动，也无法解释运动能否改善心理健康状况。