Side Effects Of Too Much Exercise On Mental Health

According to a study by Yale University published in the Lancelet Journal of Psychiatry, the side effects of too much exercise can worsen mental health. This study covered around 1.2 million individuals in the United States from 2011-2015. Exercise is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other physical ailments. This study established that it also affects mental health across a large population sample.

Key Findings Of The Study: Side Effects Of Too Much Exercise

According to the study, the impact of exercise on mental health is usually positive, leading to a lower mental health burden for all types of exercise compared to not exercising. The most significant benefits were seen across popular team sports, cycling, and aerobic and gym activities. And the best duration for activities was 45 minutes three to five times per week.

Exercising more than 23 times a month or for more than 90-minute durations suggests obsessive behavior and harms mental health. But is over-exercising really that bad?

Over-exercising means exercising without taking a rest, for too long, and being addicted to exercise. It can be compared to workaholism or taking any positive habit and becoming obsessed with it. The study mentioned that working out more than five times a week at regular intervals can diminish the positive returns one might get from mental health. On the other hand, exercising less than three times will have the same effect. Exercising between 120 minutes to 360 minutes per week is the sweet spot or golden mean to stay on top of your mental health.

Read more: 9 ways to calm yourself down with anxiety-reducing exercises

How Can I Develop A Habit Of Exercising Regularly?

After reading about different types of exercise and how they can benefit you, and the side effects of too much exercise, you might wonder how to develop a habit for the same. If so, you’re on the right track. Exercise is one of the most beneficial activities for physical and mental health, and it leads to a better mood once you get used to the activity. To develop a habit of exercising regularly, you can start slow and set of goal of working out for 10-15 minutes per day. The only thing to remember is consistency and showing up daily. For this purpose, you can talk to a friend or loved one to be an accountability partner.

Read more: What type of exercise is best for mental health?


Study findings by Yale University show that the side effects of too much exercise can worsen mental health. However, exercising regularly positively impacts your physical and psychological well-being across all types of exercise. The most effective forms of exercise include group sports, cycling, and aerobic and gym activities. Other forms of physical activity include yoga, calisthenics, and running.

The form of exercise and the duration that benefits you most depends on your social circle, habits, lifestyle, and what suits your body. And you can consult a physician for the same. However, sleep and nutrition are closely tied to exercise and are equally crucial for physical and mental well-being. Keeping your body healthy automatically strengthens your immune system, enabling you to live longer, healthier, and likely happier. On that note, here is an article explaining five simple ways to keep your immune system healthy.

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