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Revive your mind: the science of exercise for mental health

Exercise has been proven to be as effective, if not more, than medication and psychotherapy in treating anxiety and depression—in particular, high intensity exercise. It's thought to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance stress resilience. But to reap the benefits, adherence is key.

Exercise has long been recognized as a powerful tool for improving physical health, but its benefits for mental health are now becoming increasingly clear. A large meta-analysis of 97 studies concluded that exercise is as effective, if not more, in treating anxiety and depression as medication and psychotherapy.

The power of high intensity exercise

Interestingly, exercise routines involving higher intensities tend to be associated with greater benefits. While the mechanisms are complex and not fully understood, one factor thought to contribute to these benefits is lactate. This is produced during anaerobic high-intensity exercise and plays an important role in producing serotonin and norepinephrine – neurotransmitters crucial for mood regulation. Low levels of these neurotransmitters can lead to anxiety, lower inhibitory control, and reduced ability to handle stress.

Studies show exercise is as effective, if not more, in treating anxiety and depression as medication and psychotherapy.

Exercise routines involving higher intensities tend to be associated with greater mental health benefits.

Adherence is key

Adherence to an exercise routine is an important factor in the effectiveness of exercise for mental health. Another finding from the aforementioned meta-analysis was that exercise routines with a smaller overall weekly volume seem to be more effective than routines with a greater volume, possibly because they are easier to comply with.

The new and improved form of HIIT

Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) is a new and improved form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that has been scientifically proven to deliver significant health and fitness benefits in just 15 minutes per week—compared to 2.5 hours of traditional exercise recommended in government guidelines. With just 2×20-second sprints, CAROL Bike’s REHIT workouts make it more feasible to adhere to a consistent exercise program, offering a time-efficient and convenient way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your routine.

The research is clear: exercise, particularly high-intensity exercise, is a potent tool for improving mental health and well-being. With shorter, more adherable workouts, CAROL Bike is a science-backed solution for those seeking to boost their mental health in today’s fast-paced world.

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