The Effects of Exercise on Mental Health

Document Type


Publication Date



exercise, mental health, mental illness


Exercise is an extremely important aspect towards positive mental health. Multiple studies have been done previously that show one benefit or another that exercise has towards mental health, but previously there had been no attempt to summarize the findings of these studies. Exercise has been found to prevent the onset of mental illness, as well as increasing the mental health of individuals with mental illness. This comes partly as a result of exercise’s stress reducing capabilities. The reduction of stress on the body is not only mentally, but also physically as exercise reduces physical aging and the likelihood of illnesses that are brought on by age. These benefits are maintained across all age ranges, genders, and economic statuses. Team/popular sports, cycling, and aerobic/gym exercises have the greatest effect on mental health, but even things as mundane as gardening or walking have a measurable effect on mental health. Anything from as little to an hour a week has also been found to have a small measurable effect on mental health, but the greatest effect is found from exercising for 30-60 minutes, three to five times a week. Exercise can have a negative effect on an individual’s health if an individual exercises too long per session, quits exercising after consistently exercising for a long time, or if they have a mental illness such as bulimia or anorexia. Despite these potential negative effects, exercise has been found to be an effective tool in the fight for mental health.

First Advisor

Laura Kruger

Second Advisor

Hyung Suk Yang

Research Area

Kinesiology & Sport Management

This document is currently not available here.