The effects of exercise on mental illness

The effects of exercise on mental illness

The video looks at how exercise affects mental health, specifically for the adult and elderly populations. An exercise physiologist, who is a part of the Stay Well program at St. Josephs’s Hospital, was interviewed to share his expertise on the benefits of exercise.

This video was made by McMaster Demystifying Medicine students Ava Oliaei, Nour Eddin Garada and Nadia Butt.

Copyright McMaster University 2019

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Chekroud, S. R., Gueorguieva, R., Zheutlin, A. B., Paulus, M., Krumholz, H. M., Krystal, J. H., & Chekroud, A. M. (2018). Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(9), 739–746. doi: 10.1016/s2215-0366(18)30227-x

Craft, L. L., & Landers, D. M. (1998). The Effect of Exercise on Clinical Depression and Depression Resulting from Mental Illness: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20(4), 339–357. doi: 10.1123/jsep.20.4.339

Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). More evidence that exercise can boost mood. Retrieved from

Lavie, C. J., Arena, R., Swift, D. L., Johannsen, N. M., Sui, X., Lee, D.-C., … Blair, S. N. (2015). Exercise and the Cardiovascular System. Circulation Research, 117(2), 207–219. doi: 10.1161/circresaha.117.305205

Malchow, B., Reich-Erkelenz, D., Oertel-Knöchel, V., Keller, K., Hasan, A., Schmitt, A., … Falkai, P. (2013). The effects of physical exercise in schizophrenia and affective disorders. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 263(6), 451–467. doi: 10.1007/s00406-013-0423-2

Radak, Z., Hart, N., Sarga, L., Koltai, E., Atalay, M., Ohno, H., & Boldogh, I. (2010). Exercise Plays a Preventive Role Against Alzheimers Disease. Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 20(3), 777–783. doi: 10.3233/jad-2010-091531

Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for Mental Health. The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 08(02), 106. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v08n0208


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  2. I wouldn’t call martial arts healthy tho. After doing boxing and mma for 2 years I developed a sleeping disorder from all the head injuries, broke my rib and developed a non-cancerous tumor on my wrist. Also-constant minor injuries are just a norm. Everything is gone now after 4 years since I stopped. Wouldn’t recommend if your goal is to improve health. But fun af.

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  4. Hey I am part of wrestling and every season I feel a drop in mental health can someone explain

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  8. Lies; get exercise no doubt, but dont rely on it to lift you out from a very bad state of mind. Antidepressant meds DO work.

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  11. It’s four wheel driving. You need to do four wheel driving when you have mental health. Or you end up in fights with people that want your stuff.

  12. I think the length of the exercise is not important but the physical act of completing exercise on a daily habit is the key to changing your mental health.

  13. Continue creating value along with making it interesting is a fantastic way to have engagement. I create daily 10 minutes Exercise video but top it up with some message of the day or some facts to attract people to Daily exercising habit. Thanks for all the suggestions.

  14. Guess it depends on the individuals, 3+ hours of exercise a day might be bad for some, perhaps. Personally, it’s been fine for me. I used to do boxing and we’d train at least 3 hours a day – 4 to 5 days a week. Thankfully, I haven’t had major injuries.

  15. I’ve ran for mental health for many years, one word of warning would be that overexercising creates depression

  16. I hate self-diagnosing myself, but I am sure I suffer from depression and anxiety… lack of confidence, self-worth and motivation… But, I have noticed that whenever I do exercise, it miraculously improves my mental health. I feel light and energetic, my mind feels fresh… but, I must confess I am not regular, and tend to fall back into the same abyss again and again. Hopefully, things will improve in future.

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  18. I started to do a few push ups and sit ups for my anxiety and body dysmorphia but I started to get addicted tho and I think I am over exerciseing tho because I constantly get the urge to do push ups but my arms are beginning to hurt and I go crazy when I don’t do a tiny bit of exercise

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  21. That’s it. After 6 years of meds, benzos, therapy and all that poisonous chemicals, today I start working out. This has got to work. This WILL work. I’m certain!! Big Pharma just wants to push their medications and silence the power of exercise, I’m sure of it.

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  23. I’ve had anxiety and depression since I was 8 years old (I am almost 19 now). I don’t exercise regularly at all, and during this pandemic, I’ve been staying at home in bed all day and feel like I don’t have any worth— in myself or to give to make a difference in this world. My therapist says exercise would be good for me and that’s why I’m checking out this vid. Honestly though, I’m having trouble figuring out what exercise I should do… it feels like I’m always dreading it so I avoid it. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  24. I use to smoke weed and cigarettes everyday, it messed up my mindset and I was so unmotivated, just finished high-school, got no girlfriend and I’m stuck. so one night when I was drunk lol I started doing like 300 situps beside my bed, my back was aching pain,my whole body was just in pain but I still kept going. Now Im on a strict diet and make ab workouts a morning routine for me. My mind just feels fresh and I have some thought of what I wanna do in my life. I could even tell that all my friends were just taking advantage of me, so I deleted Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and only social media I go on is YouTube I watch self improvement videos on how to be more mature and man the hell up. I’m thinking of joining the defence force later on in my life and going uni to do further studies at the same time.

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