Researchers analyzed mental health trends in 1.2 million people and found that those who exercise reported feeling “not good” on 43 percent fewer days compared to sedentary people. The results showed that out of 75 types of movement, team sports were most closely associated with positive moods.
Exercise of any type can improve your mental state, but team sports offer additional benefits, says study author Adam Chekroud, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Team sports tick the social box and make you more likely to follow through on your promise to move, rather than skipping your workout if you’re feeling tired or lacking motivation. That’s important, since people got the most benefits when they consistently took part.
If you’re underwhelmed by your regular routine, consider joining a local running club, weekend cycling group, or office kickball team. Chekroud’s study found the biggest mood boost came from doing 30 to 60 minutes of exercise for three to five days per week.