Giving Compass' Take:

• TIME reports on new research that shows the benefits of exercise to mental health, with the surprising extrapolation that activity beyond a certain point does not necessarily equate with improved moods.

• What would this mean for those who work in the mental health sector? How would such data affect different programs across different age groups and fitness levels?

• Slacking on exercise entirely? Here's why that's a bad idea.

Given the many benefits of exercise — ranging from physical fitness and chronic disease prevention to improved mood — it may seem logical that the more you do, the better. But a large new study suggests that’s not always the case, at least when it comes to mental health.

It’s well-established that exercise can improve mental health, and potentially even alleviate or prevent depression. But how much is enough to see a change? The new research, published recently in the Lancet Psychiatry, says that just two hours of any form of exercise each week may make a significant impact.

“One of the nice things is the accessibility of this,” says study co-author Adam Chekroud, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University. “It seems like some of the benefits are pretty in reach for most people.”

The researchers noticed an interesting pattern: People who exercised for a moderate amount of time (about 45 minutes per session) saw better mental health results than those who favored marathon workouts. Similarly, sweating three to five times a week was associated with a bigger reduction in poor mental health days than either not exercising at all or hitting the gym more than five times a week, according to the research. Together, these results led the researchers to conclude that exercising for two to six hours a week may be the sweet spot for mental health.

Read the full article about the mental health benefits of exercise by Jamie Ducharme at