The purpose of this paper is to review the current literature to examine the effects of various forms of physical activity upon mental health. A literature review was conducted to examine specific findings of the relationship between exercise (aerobic and anaerobic) and psychological well being. It was found that aerobic exercise performed at a moderate intensity produces significantly greater positive psychological outcomes than does either high intensity aerobic exercise or anaerobic exercise. Additionally, no specific differences were discovered between various methods of aerobic exercise as long as it is conducted for over 20 minutes continuously. Low impact aerobic exercise, such as yoga or meditation was also found to have positive effects on mental health. Various mechanisms underlying the mood boosting effects of exercise are also briefly examined.
Shamus E, Cohen G. Depressed, Low Self-Esteem: What Can Exercise Do For You?. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2009 Apr 01;7(2), Article 7.