Research News


Sports with others are good for mental health of middle-aged people

Although Japan is a country where people tend to live long in the global statistics, the record shows that "healthy" life expectancy is as long as 10 years shorter than the average of life expectancy. In the society of near future, the aged-people are increasing, so preventive medicine is a critical issue to extend healthy life expectancy. The important point is for middle-aged people, before getting old-aged, to maintain their physical and psychological health in good condition as much as possible. Previous research had shown that leisure and social activities, such as hobbies, education, exercises, sports as well as local activities, are effective to keeping mental condition healthy. However, no evidence was proved in regards to the effectiveness of the activities, including their programs and methods, especially for the middle-aged people.

This time, the research group led by Professor Fumi Takeda at the University of Tsukuba team analyzed thoroughly the influence of the leisure and social activities to the mental health in the middle-aged people (50-59 years old) after five years of activities, based on the data of 16,642 responses in total. The data were from the national survey of comprehensive middle-aged people held in 2005 and 2006 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. As a result of the analysis, the research confirmed that leisure such as hobbies, education, exercises and sports are effective to the health of middle-aged people. Moreover, only the activities with others to share the experiences showed the effectiveness to the health condition, which means that activities by oneself would not lead to the effectiveness to their health. The research team concluded that exercises and sports with the others are more recommended than those by themselves when middle-aged people would like to make the activities effective to their mental health.


The relations between the way of participation and mental health status at the follow-up periods. It suggest that people who did exercise or sports with others (green circle) five years ago may keep a good mental health condition.

Original Paper

Fumi Takeda, Haruko Noguchi, Takafumi Monma, and Nanako Tamiya, PLOS ONE, How possibly do leisure and social activities impact mental health of middle-aged adults in Japan? : An evidence from a national longitudinal survey. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0139777

Celebrating the 151st{50th Anniversary of the University of Tsukuba
Celebrating the 151st{50th Anniversary of the University of Tsukuba