One of the benefits of regular exercise that guys don’t tend to talk about is its positive impact on mental health issues like anxiety and depression. We don’t mind saying that it’s a good stress buster or that we need it to blow off steam, but we don’t tend to want to call specific issues by name. I’ve talked about this issue in men’s mental health in a previous post, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it here, but the good news is, no matter what you call it, workouts are extremely effective and helpful.
Research Shows Regular Exercise is as Effective as Some Medications
A new study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry showed that people who keep up with regular exercise lower their risk of developing anxiety by nearly 60 percent. That research wasn’t just a tiny preliminary study.
It involved tracking the data of nearly 400,000 people across over twenty years. The Lund University research team in Sweden determined that people who were physically active had a “significantly lower risk” of developing anxiety as long as they were doing so. This was particularly true for men, though both men and women were shown to benefit significantly.
What Does This Mean for You?
It means that you should make a priority of regular exercise! If your physical health wasn’t enough to convince you, what about your mental health? Many people say that they don’t like exercise, so they don’t want to do it because it will make them unhappy. Well, it turns out that if you stay inactive, your risk of being unhappy is a lot higher anyway, so you might as well do what’s right for both your physical and mental health.
This doesn’t mean that you need to join a gym or take on an extremely intense routine every day. You should do about a half hour of moderate to intense exercise on most days of the week, though. That little bit helps, even if that thirty minutes is broken into two fifteen minute workouts. It counts!
Is there somewhere that you need to walk every day that would take about 15 minutes to get there? What if you parked farther away or got off a stop early on the bus? If so, those 15 minutes in each direction are enough to get you to your quota. Just make sure you’re walking briskly the whole time.
Of course, there’s nothing that says you shouldn’t join a gym for your regular exercise. I’m a personal trainer. I encourage it. The key is to make it the right one for you. A membership doesn’t help you if you don’t use it. Don’t forget that the season is changing. Now’s the time to get snowshoes, cross-country or downhill skis or a snowboard for extra workouts once the snow falls!