Can Exercise Protect Against Depression?

New research suggests that it takes less than 2 hour of exercise per week to boost your mood and reduce symptoms of...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Minimum effective dose: exercise and depression protection

  • Can coffee strengthen your bones?

  • The positive corner of masculinity

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The Mood-Boosting Minimum

Can a few walks around the block combat the blues? According to new research, even small increases in physical activity can reduce your risk or symptoms of depression.

The scientists analyzed a group of more than 4,000 people over ten years. They found that exercise lowers your likelihood of experiencing major depression and can help protect your mind against depressive feelings and symptoms. 

The researchers were particularly interested in finding the “minimum effective dose” for helping people feel less depressed. They determined that approximately 400 MET minutes (MET = metabolic equivalent task) — which is about 100 minutes of low-intensity exercise (think a walk) or approximately 50 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise — was enough to provide significant protection for your mind. 

And that’s just the start. The research suggests the more exercise you perform, the less likely you are to experience depressive symptoms. Research over the past decade continues to support the idea that exercise boosts neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s ability to adapt, change, regrow, and reprogram. 

Some depressive symptoms appear to be created by psychological inflexibility, which occurs when you get stuck in a feedback loop of negative thoughts and emotions. Exercise could help you re-route neural pathways that help trigger more positive emotions. Movement also improves stress resilience, reduces anxiety, and can build confidence. 

If you’re looking for a place to start, try to complete 25 minutes of exercise at least four times per week. That would help you hit the minimum, and then you can build from there. 

The Surprising Bone Strengthener 

Did you know that too much caffeine can speed up calcium loss and affect the health of your bones? It’s one reason why some people suggest avoiding coffee. 

But not all caffeine is created equal. As we’ve shared before, there appears to be something special about the magical bean. A recent study suggests that the right amount of coffee can improve bone health. 

The study focused on the effects of coffee consumption by analyzing a collection of small molecules in the blood that reflect healthy bones. 

The scientists found that up to three cups of coffee per day are associated with better bone mineral density and overall bone health. However, if you increase coffee consumption up to six to eight cups per day, it’s possible that the caffeine overwhelms the benefits of metabolites from drinking coffee and can cause too much calcium loss. 

Your response to coffee may vary based on genetic predispositions, overall diet, and lifestyle habits. But this study isn’t the only research to link coffee to good bones. A meta-analysis found moderate coffee consumption is not associated with osteoporosis or fractures and might be protective.

The Positive Corner of Masculinity: Avatars and Anger

This week, we are trying something new in the positive corner of masculinity.

Your real reminder: be useful, not hateful.

We are directly reflecting on the type of messages these manfluencer losers post. His name is blacked out because we don’t want to increase his following.

But his profile image isn’t. Because this guy does what a lot of these accounts do. He attacks other people’s image while never sharing his own. 

We could go on and on about the perks of marriage. I love being married to my wife. She is the best partner for everything I go through every day.

But today, I want to focus on not listening to cowards. Why would you ever care if someone says anything about someone else while hiding behind an avatar?

I have a feeling that 95 percent of the members of our village don’t need to hear this. We read your emails. You’re so much more positive than most of social media. You deal with challenges and struggles by reaching out and rising instead of shutting down and being bitter.

But you should also know what the people you know are being exposed to. You can’t win a battle without intelligence and awareness.

If you see your sons or brothers sharing these memes, ask them a simple question: why should you or anyone care what this whiner who won’t share his image says about anyone?

I believe we have to take the fight directly to these people. And we won’t back down.

-Ketch, the deadlifting and rucking dad

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell