Everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or walking instead of driving, are key to improving mental health. Doing little bursts of exercise every day can help to significantly boost mental wellbeing, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, discovered that everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or walking instead of driving, are key to improving mental health.
More than 60 participants were analysed in the study, which used movement sensors and smartphone surveys that were triggered by geolocation data when the subjects moved. They were followed for seven days, and the team found that participants felt more alert and energised directly after the , which the scientists said was key to improving mental wellbeing.
The researchers also studied a further 83 people, who had their grey brain matter measured to discover if it played a role in boosting mental health after taking part in the everyday activities.
It was found that the subgenual cingulate cortex, which is a section of the cerebral cortex where emotions and resistance to psychiatric disorders are regulated, is important to the interaction between everyday activity and wellbeing.
The scientists discovered that those with small amounts of grey brain matter in that region had a higher risk of psychiatric disorders and felt less energised when they were physically inactive.
Study co-author Professor Heike Tost said that the findings were particularly relevant during the ongoing and subsequent restrictions.
"Currently, we are experiencing strong restrictions of public life and social contacts, which may adversely affect our well-being," he explained.
"To feel better, it may help to more often climb stairs."