Physical exercise offers one of the best ways to boost your mood. Here are six tips to gain the best mood-enhancing benefits of exercise:
1. Make exercise a daily habit. Build exercise that gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping every single day. This doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym seven days a week, but whether it’s going for a swim, walking your dog or lifting weights, you must make physical activity a part of your daily routine.
2. Get intense about exercise. Studies have shown that even five minutes of high intensity training—anything that gets you breathing hard and breaking a sweat—can enhance your mood. After you begin to exercise, your body naturally releases endorphins into your bloodstream causing a euphoric feeling.
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3. Stand up and move regularly. Studies increasingly show that sitting around too long is bad for physical and mental health. Make sure you get up from your desk at least once an hour to boost productivity, increase circulation and improve mood. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a bit farther away from the door. Bike to work.
4. Choose activities strategically. Just as you might choose foods or vitamins for their specific health benefits, certain exercises offer particular benefits too. Yoga, for instance, is strongly connected with a reduction in anxiety--yoga increases levels of GABA, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety. Yogic breathing increases oxygen flow, leading to optimal functioning of all your organs—including your brain. Tai chi has been called “meditation in motion” for its calming effects. Cycling or other aerobic exercise boosts your energy by sending extra oxygen to your brain. “We tend to think of physical activity as being tiring, but in fact physical activity adds energy to our lives,” says clinical and sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays.
5. Get outside. Studies have shown that exercising outdoors has a greater effect on improving mood than indoor activity. People report a greater sense of enjoyment and satisfaction as well as increased energy. Hawai’i has one of the most beautiful outdoor environments in the world. Take advantage!
6. Put on some tunes. Listening to the right music can almost always jumpstart your mood. Add that to the mood-boosting endorphins and hormones released by exercise and you’ll soon be singing along.
Whether you struggle with depression or simply need a boost to your mood, exercise is one of the best and most effective ways of lifting your spirits.