Exercise and Improving Your Mood
From Mark Stibich, Ph.D., former About.com Guide
Exercise can be a great way to lift your mood and improve your emotions. When
you exercise, your body feels more relaxed and calm. Find out some of the
reasons and the best exercises to lift your mood and balance your emotions.
Why Exercise Improves Mood
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and
dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. In addition,
after exercising you may feel a sense of accomplishment and your muscles will
relax deeper because of the workout – easing tension and strain.
Exercise and Emotions
While exercise is not, on its own, a treatment for clinical depression; studies show
that exercise can help improve mood temporarily in depressed individuals. In fact,
for people with mild or moderate depression, 30 minutes of intense exercise can be
as effective as medication for improving mood. People who do not respond to
depression medications may show improvement in mood when they exercise.
Types of Exercises to Improve Mood
Cardiovascular Exercises and Aerobics: Intense exercise increases the
release of those chemicals (endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine) in
your body. Cardiovascular exercise and aerobics are great for creating the
intensity required for a mood-raising chemical high.
Yoga Yoga has been shown in studies to reduce tension and stress while
improving mood. Yoga focuses on a range of stretching, breathing and motion
that create a release of negative emotions in the body. Yoga, interestingly, has
been shown to be particularly effective for men (compared to other exercises like