Exercise and mental health: How long to do it, according to neuroscientists

Time to spend mental exercise for take care of mental health This is exactly the same as recommended by the WHO to take care of health. Because we have said many times: there is no health without mental health.

We are talking about between 150 and 300 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Or between 75 and 150 minutes of intense exercise. All this divided into two or three weekly sessions, preferably alternating different disciplines. This is how a neuroscientist explains it Nazareth Castellanos in his book Neuroscience of the body (Editorial En orbit), in which he devotes one of his chapters to the ability of physical exercise they promote emotional well-being and, at the same time, the physical health of the brain.

Benefits of exercise at the neural level

That during sports, endorphins are released that promote well-being is something we have been talking about for a long time. But it is interesting how various neuroscientific studies have confirmed that exercise does not only treat mental disorders, as Castellanos explains, but also at the neuronal level. stimulates neurogenesis or, which is the same, generation of new neurons. ‘Physical exercise has been found to benefit the brain’s resources for cognition, improve plasticity, vascular function and reduce inflammation. After one session, neuron growth factors increase, although, of course, one session is not enough to maintain well-being,’ says the expert. The same goes for therapy.

If this amount of exercise is practiced, anxiety is reduced

People say that exercise relieves tension. But science measured how to exercise reduces anxiety: specifically between 15 and 25%, explains Castellanos. She cites a 2018 study that even stated that sedentary people have a higher risk of depression. As the expert explains, more and more mental health centers are integrating exercise as part of their protocol. In fact, he gives the example of a health service in Australia that turned its office into a gym, managing to significantly reduce psychiatric symptoms.

The importance of taking care of your posture

Posture change the mood – we have already said it the other time -, but also the way in which reality is perceived. For example, Castellanos talks about a 2014 study that found good posture with a straight back facilitates memory, while slouched posture can cause fewer things to be remembered, and even in a negative tone. ‘The body is a hinge that allows us to migrate from one state to another. Just as the brain interprets posture to infer our state, a change in posture can help turn the situation around,’ he says. Therefore, work postural awareness it also helps boost positive emotions. “Awareness of one’s posture during the day could become an ally of mental health, another tool that most are not aware of and that those of us who do know don’t always use it,” concludes Castellanos.

Article originally published in Vogue Spain, vogue.es.

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