Exercise as a Mitigator of Poor Mental Health Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Introduction: There is a positive association between exercise and improved mental health in the general population. Although there is a greater burden of psychological distress among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, little is known about the association between exercise and mental health in this population. The authors explored the association between exercise and poor mental health reported by LGB adults in the United States. Methods: Our analyses used data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Multiple regression analyses were used to determine the association between exercising and mental health days adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Data were available for 6371 LGB participants. LGB adults who participated in any exercise reported almost 1.0 day less of poor mental health in the past 30 days compared with LGB adults who did not exercise (P ≤ .01). LGB adults who met one or both of the physical activity guidelines had between 1.2 and 1.7 days less of poor mental health compared with those who did not meet the guidelines (P ≤ .01). Conclusion: Fewer days of poor mental health were reported by LGB adults who exercised. Determining whether physical activity interventions, including aerobic and strengthening exercises, could improve mental health outcomes in LGB adults should be studied.

Pharr, Flatt, Kachen, and Olakunde are with Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA. Chien is with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Pharr (jennifer.pharr@unlv.edu) is corresponding author.
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