It is well known that exercise can have a positive effect on mood, but how long do you need to exercise for, how difficult does it need to be, and what type of exercise is best? My immediate answer would be: it’s different for everyone.
But I may be wrong, as recent research findings from The Journal of Psychology, Interdisciplinary and Applied suggest otherwise. The researchers collated evidence from 38 relevant studies that examined the associations between exercise intensity, duration and modality and any effects on mood. They found lots of contradictory results so here is a run-down of the main bits:
- 10 minutes often appears sufficient to achieve gains in mood (although one study found that 30 minutes was required to achieve feelings of increased vigour).
- The optimum for improving mood is moderate intensity, perhaps because low intensity is too dull while high intensity is too unpleasant.
- The beneficial mood effects of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling) are less consistent than is found with anaerobic exercise, and anaerobic exercise (lifting weights, sprinting) appears especially to be more beneficial for beating stress and anxiety.
If you are thinking about the optimum type of exercise for your own mood, the common-sense message is to take into consideration your own fitness level and preferences, to find that sweet spot: the exercise that is enough of a challenge without being unpleasant. I would add that you would need to enjoy it too!
Read the whole article here.
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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