Sweat on the Brain: How Different Forms of Exercise Impact our Mental Health
By Maya Kennedy
Senior Category (Grades 11-12)
Study | Biology, Psychology
While science seems to agree that physical activity is essential to maintaining overall mental health, which exercise is the best at improving mental health? We sought to answer this question by analyzing and comparing the self-perceived quality of mental health of participants of various types of exercise (including running, net-ball, and circuit training). Studies included both neurotypical and mentally ill participants to encompass a diverse range of mental states.
It was expected that participants of highly aerobic exercises (such as running) would have the best overall mental health, given the frequent surge of endorphins from cardiovascular exercise. However, we discovered that exercise with high metabolic equivalent task rating (or large number of average calories burned per hour) were most likely to have the best overall mental-health related quality of life.