Personally, my favorite explanation for why a more sound body leads to a more sound mind is pure chemistry, the hormonal effects of exercise on the brain. But here’s a nice new study out in the journal Clinical Psychological Science that found a dual explanation in thousands of Dutch teen girls: Improved self-image and improved social life. From the press release: Karin Monshouwer of the Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands and colleagues at Trimbos and VU University Medical Center specifically wanted to examine two existing explanations for the link between exercise and mental health.
The self-image hypothesis suggests that physical activity has positive effects on body weight and body structure, leading to positive feedback from peers and improved self-image, and ultimately improving mental health. The social interaction hypothesis, on the other hand, holds that it’s the social aspects of physical activity – such as social relationships and mutual support among team members – that contribute to the positive effects of exercise on mental health.
Read the whole story: wbur NPR