Effect of Physical Activity Intensity on Psychological Well-Being

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Physical Activity

Although physical activity has been proven to benefit our health in different ways, whether the level of intensity of physical activity affects one’s sense of well-being has not been well established. In an article published in the Journal of Health Psychology in 2017, a group of researchers investigated the effect of physical activity intensity on psychological well-being.

 

We have been always told that physical activity improves our health. Regular physical activity helps prevent the occurrence of diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, and musculoskeletal problems. Regular exercise also improves blood flow to the brain and releases neurochemicals such as endorphins, which improve our sense of well-being and our overall mental health. Although regular exercise is proven to benefit our health in different ways, the effect of the intensity of our physical activity on the sense of well-being has not been well-studied.

In an article published in the Journal of Health Psychology in 2017, a group of researchers conducted a study to determine the effect of the intensity of physical activity on the perception of well-being. A total of 419 adults, at least 20 years of age, and who had no co-morbid medical conditions during the study period were included. The participants were given an accelerometer which they had to wear continuously for 2 weekend days and 2 weekdays, or a total of 96 hours. The accelerometer was used to assess the intensity of the physical activity of the participants (light, moderate, and vigorous). After finishing the 96 hours, they were given 4 different questionnaires to measure habitual physical activity, psychological well-being, depression, and pain severity (the extent to which pain interferes with daily activities).

The results show that light and moderate intensity of physical activity is associated with improved psychological well-being and reduced depression levels. Moderate intensity physical activity is also associated with reduced pain severity among participants. Further studies and randomized controlled trials should be done to provide objective measures on the subject. Before engaging in high-intensity physical activities, one should also consult a professional to assess the body’s capability to perform such exercises.

 

Written By: Karla Sevilla