In a recent study published in The Lancet, researchers from Yale and Oxford Universities sought to study the link between exercise and mental health.
Their findings seemed to support anecdotal evidence that exercise improves mood.
The study analyzed data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System surveys of 1,237,194 people from the United States.
Researchers were comparing the number of self-reported bad mental health days between those who did exercise and those who didn't.
Groups were divided in such a way as to balance the number of participants who fell into specific categories such as:
age, race, gender, BMI, marital status, income, education, self-reported physical health and previous depression diagnosis.
The study also differentiated between type and frequency of exercise, as well as duration and intensity.
The study found that those who exercised regularly had over 43% less bad mental health days than those who did not (but were otherwise of similar socioeconomic status and physical characteristics).
All exercise was seen to improve mental health outcomes, but cycling, aerobics, and team sports had the most profound effects.
In the paper's abstract, study authors state that:
"...physical exercise was significantly and meaningfully associated with self-reported mental health burden in the past month."
Whether a person exercised or not had a greater impact than their socioeconomic status:
"Differences as a function of exercise were large relative to other demographic variables such as education and income."
Reactions to the study on Facebook were mixed, but many took the humorous approach.
Over on Twitter, people were excited by the study.
I thought this study published in the Lancet was really cool. Somewhat intuitive, but now we have data to back it u… https://t.co/VLTGwmYHM1— Caitlin Heino (@Caitlin Heino)1554662062.0
Health is wealth — and there is no health without mental health. Stay active, stay well New York City! https://t.co/38o50n8CCj— Chirlane McCray (@Chirlane McCray)1555092554.0
Visual abstract: 🏃♂️➡️😀 Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the… https://t.co/4TPTBWT6YU— Matt Cooperberg (@Matt Cooperberg)1554818571.0
That isn't to say that exercise will solve all of your problems.
However, it seems it might help make life a little more bearable.