New York Times on the role of physical activity for mental health refers to NASP’s European study
In an article published in The New York Times on 2 February 2020, Dr. Perry Klass discusses recent research and the relationship between the risk for depression and lack of physical activity among adolescents.
In his article, Dr. Klass refers to recent studies where the results have shown that exercise, of any kind, can be associated with mental health benefits, like lower levels of depression and anxiety and improvements in sleep quality.
One of the studies mentioned (McMahon et al. 2017), is a publication based on data collected from the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE)-study. SEYLE was a randomised controlled trial studying mental health-promoting programmes for adolescents among European schools, in which the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP) at Karolinska Institutet served as the coordinating centre.
Apart from the finding that physical activity can be associated with improved mental health and well-being among adolescents, McMahon’s and Seyle team also found that participating in physical group activities provides an additional benefit over and above activities performed alone.
Community and school-based interventions focusing on promoting well-being and good mental health in adolescents should advocate for frequent physical activity and engagement in individual and/or team sports.