Largest Ever Study Further Confirms The Power Of Exercise To Improve Mental Health - Save Our Bones

A new meta-analysis has synthesized the results of 97 reviews, offering an in-depth perspective on the profound influence of physical activity on mental well-being.

Regarded as the most comprehensive meta-analysis on this topic to date, the study underscores the undeniable benefits of exercise as a potent remedy for mental health challenges, surpassing the effects of traditional psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in certain aspects.

Let's delve into the specifics of this research, enabling you to harness the dual advantages of enhanced mental health and bone health through physical activity.

Deciphering The Meta-Review On Exercise And Mental Health

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, this meta-review meticulously evaluated and juxtaposed the outcomes of previously conducted systematic reviews. Each of these systematic review, in turn, integrated the results of numerous individual studies.

In total, this meta-review encompasses 97 reviews, covering 1039 trials with a staggering 128,119 participants. These participants ranged from healthy adults and individuals grappling with mental health issues, to those with diverse physical conditions.

The studies within this meta-review employed a variety of physical activity interventions and assessed their impact on depression, anxiety, and psychological distress. The primary objective was to discern the efficacy of these interventions in mitigating mental health concerns.1


The meta-review integrated 97 the findings of 1039 trials involving 128,119 participants, focusing on the role of physical activity in addressing mental health challenges.

The Healing Power Of Physical Activity

This meta-review conclusively establishes that physical activity (PA) serves as a potent antidote for alleviating mild to moderate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress. In fact, the reductions in symptoms of depression (-0.43) and anxiety (-0.42) due to physical activity were found to be comparable to, or even slightly superior to, the effects observed for psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

While past research has indicated that physical activity can rival the benefits of psychotherapy and medicinal treatments for depression, anxiety, and psychological distress, their limited scope often left medical professionals skeptical.1 This comprehensive meta-review, however, encompasses a diverse demographic and a spectrum of physical activities.

Interestingly, the study revealed that all forms of physical activity effective, be it aerobic, resistance, mixed-mode, or yoga were beneficial. The study found that all modes of physical activity were beneficial, including aerobic, resistance, mixed-mode exercise, and yoga. Notably, resistance exercises exhibited the most pronounced positive effects on depression while yoga emerged as the most potent remedy for anxiety.1

Incorporating a diverse range of exercises into your workout regimen can unlock a plethora of health benefits. Surprisingly, shorter exercise sessions proved more effective than longer interventions, likely due to higher adherence rates, emphasizing the importance of cultivating an enjoyable and sustainable exercise routine.


Physical activity has been validated as a valuable tool for enhancing mental health, with different exercises offering unique benefits. It's effects on depression and anxiety have been found to be on par with, or even slightly better than traditional therapeutic methods.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Mental Health And Bone Health

Physical exercise is pivotal for fostering robust bone health. The physical strain on bones induced by exercise stimulates the bone formation process– leading to the development of stronger, healthier, and younger bones.

This study illuminates another dimension of exercise's protective role—its ability to bolster mental health.
Elevated stress levels, often stemming from anxiety and other mental health issues, lead to an increase of the stress hormone cortisol. Excessive cortisol can be detrimental to bone health.

Furthermore, a sound mental state facilitates the consistent pursuit of other health objectives, such as maintaining a healthy diet and ensuring adequate sleep. This study highlights how exercise can help you maintain good mental health, which in turn supports your other healthy habits– exercise included!


Exercise not only directly fortifies bones but also indirectly safeguards them by enhancing mental health, thereby reducing stress-induced bone damage and promoting health habits.

What This Means To You

The essence of this meta-analysis is clear: physical activity is a panacea for mental well-being. The key is to remain active without getting entangled in the intricacies of the “perfect” workout.

Building an enjoyable and sustainable exercise habit can be intimidating at first– that's why the Save Institute created SaveTrainer. SaveTrainer provides you with the most effective workouts.

For those seeking guidance, SaveTrainer offers a curated collection of workouts tailored for every ability level, duration, target body part, and health goal. SaveTrainer has a wide variety of bone strength, joint health, balance, posture, flexibility, meditation, sleep-enhancing, and yoga classes.

SaveTrainer ensures that you remain active, happy, and healthy.



The Top 14 Things You’re Doing That Are Damaging Your Bones... And More!

  • Stop The Bone Thieves! report
  • Email course on how to prevent and reverse bone loss
  • Free vital osteoporosis news and updates.
Get It Free Now

Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Linda

    Good to know! Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My pleasure, Linda!

  2. Ellen Ruby

    PÀ makes you feel better and encourages healthy bone growth. PA does not help in the type of treatment that deals with character analysis or relearning to express ideas in words. PA is generally essential for good health!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s right, Ellen. This meta-analysis has found that PA can often enhance mental health, such as depression and anxiety symptoms, as effectively (and sometimes more effectively) than traditional treatments.

  3. Priscilla

    Thanks for sharing such interesting information, Vivian!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome!

Get Started With Your FREE
Natural Bone Building Kit.

Get a free copy of our ‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ eBook, exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.

Get It Free

Get Your Free Bone-Building Kit


‘Stop The Bone Thieves’ guide, exclusive info, plus vital osteoporosis news and updates.