Time and again studies have proven that a bit of exercise can do you a whole lot of good. From weight loss to reducing the risk of diabetes and heart diseases and strengthening the muscles to delaying premature death, physical activity is one of the foremost factors along with diet that can play a role in how long and how well you will live. But an interesting observation of many such studies that focus on the impact of exercise on health reveals that only light exercises for a reasonable duration can help you achieve your goals. A new research has now proven how light physical activity helps you.  Every one hour that you spend in doing a light-intensity physical activity cuts down your brain age by 1.1 years. This not only leads to an increase in the brain volume but it also helps reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. Here are some ways in which exercise helps your mental health:

Exercise can help reduce and prevent depression: A study by Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry said that physical activity can reduce the risk for depression. In the past, some studies have also claimed that mental health issues like depression can be alleviated by aerobic exercises because these exercises have antidepressant effects.

Exercise can “clean up” your brain: A research said that physical exercise can actually “clean up” the environment inside the brain for newer nerve cells to survive and thrive and also to boost their function and improve cognition. The research suggested that exercises like aerobic activities could help you improve your ability to think and make decisions.

Exercises can make you happier: It is not just about keeping mental illnesses away, exercise can also help keep you happy. A research said that even simple activities like gardening or walking can boost your level of happiness. Those who engage in physical activity once a week have 1.4 times the odds of being happy as compared to those who don’t. 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week can help achieve higher levels of happiness even among those battling with serious diseases like ovarian cancer, according to the study.