Too much exercise likely to affect mental health: Experts


Chennai: Though regular exercise is considered good for physical health against diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, stroke, and diabetes, its association with mental health has remained unclear.

A recent study published in journal The Lancet Psychiatry found that exercises such as cycling, aerobics and gymming for more than 90 minutes a day could affect mental health than not exercising.

The study aimed to examine the association between exercise and mental health burden in a large sample, and to better understand the influence of exercise type, frequency, duration, and intensity analysed data from more than 12 lakh people aged 18 or above. The researchers compared the number of days of bad self-reported mental health between individuals who exercised and those who did not.

The study revealed that people doing extreme amounts of exercise might have obsessive characteristics, which could place them at greater risk of poor mental healthVarious parameters considered for the analysis were age, gender, marital status, income, education level, body-mass index category, self-reported physical health, and previous diagnosis of depression. The effects of duration, intensity and frequency of exercise were examined to understand the association with mental health. The study found that individuals who exercised regularly had 43.2 percent fewer days of poor mental health than individuals who did not exercise. 

Team sports and cycling were linked of even bigger reductions 22.3 per cent, 21.6 per cent, while aerobics and gymming had 20.1 per cent reduction. People previously diagnosed with depression had 3.75 fewer days of poor mental health.

The researchers said that more physical exercise was not always good for health and was significantly and meaningfully associated with self-reported mental health burden. Therefore, factors such as type of exercise, duration and frequency are significant to reduce the clinical burden linked with burden of mental health. Medicos say that or exercising for longer than 90-minutes can worsen mental health of an individual.

For men
Intense exercise has been shown to decrease libido. Possibly due to physical fatigue and lower testosterone levels. Over-exercise raises the risk of overuse injuries, like tendinitis and stress fractures. These injuries result from repetitive trauma. The immune system can likewise suffer.

For women
Women are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, if they are physically active at least once a week. But that risk of heart attacks and strokes shoots up for women who exercise strenuously every day. So, excessive exercise doesn't provide more benefits than moderate exercise. 

And it could be more risky. Women are at particular risk for what's known as the “female athlete triad” that includes: loss of menstruation, osteoporosis or bone mineral loss and eating disorders. These symptoms usually arise from a combination of over-exercise and calorie restriction.