Improving Mental Health With Exercise May Depend On How Active You Already Are…

It’s easy to figure out what exercises to do to get stronger, faster, etc. but what exercises help best for mental health? It depends…

Juha Juppi
3 min readJan 25, 2021
Photo by Chander R on Unsplash

Everybody can picture the clarity that comes from going for a run. Maybe you’re on vacation and want to take in the enviornment. Wait.. We’re in the middle of a pandemic — I doubt you’re on vacation right now. Instead maybe just clearing your head after a day of stressful zoom conference calls.

So why are we talking about mental health today? Honestly it’s because I read an article about it earlier and it really resonated with me. I went all of last week keeping social interactions to a bare-bare-bare minimum so I could be with my thoughts. The exact text I sent to my closest friends was this:

“Hey I’ve been in a weird head space lately so i’m going to take the next week to just be with my thoughts. So if I don’t respond to texts, etc. it’s nothing personal. Just wanted to give you the heads up.”

Here was the progression my mind took over the week:

  1. Ignore everything and just pretend like those thoughts don’t exist
  2. Keep myself so busy that I don’t give those thoughts any oxygen
  3. Journaling my deepest worries down for only me to see
  4. Joining a Patreon that’s geared towards emotional support/mental health
  5. Doing some mental health exercises in the night time — when my thoughts run typically run wild and unmoderated
  6. Committed to public skating for 30–45mins 2–3x per week after taking an entire year off from skating (thanks covid for canceling my last hockey season at the start of the playoffs)
Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

…so what about that article? Sorry! Here’s what you need to know.

  • 36,595 middle-aged men and women with an average age of 41 completed a questionnaire
  • Questionnaires asked respondents how many times a week they had exercised in the past 30 days and how often they had experienced “worry, depressed mood or anxiety.”
  • Doing an activity YOU ENJOY (running, skating, biking, swimming, etc.) had greater impact in improving mental health than one you don’t enjoy

— read the full article here

So what’s the TL;DR? (too long; didn’t read)

  1. If you’re sedentary — simply starting is the most important thing for mental health
  2. If you’re active — look to adding more exercises/workouts YOU actually enjoy

What did you think of this article? Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to know your thoughts :) Enjoy your day!



Juha Juppi

🔻 Improving fitness with mobility training 🔻 FRC® FRA® 🏋️ 🔻The Juha Juppi Podcast🎙️ 🎧 ⤵️