Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, worrying about finances, COVID-19, trouble at work — there are a lot of things in life that can affect your mood every day.
Maybe you feel a bit grouchy one day, or you’ve found yourself persistently anxious. Your mood from day to day can affect your overall happiness, and it can get in the way of interpersonal relationships.
If you are finding your mood isn’t what you would like it to be, you don’t have to settle for having a bad day, month or even year. Though it might sound too easy to work, getting a workout in could make a big difference for your mood and mental health.
Here are some ways exercise can give your mood a boost:
Everybody feels angry now and then, but anger can get in the way of your happiness if it creeps up too often. Uncontrolled anger or angry outbursts at others often harm relationships. Regular exercise may reduce episodes of anger and help people control feelings of anger when they arise.
For the nearly 10% of Americans living with depression each year, exercise can be a good way to deal with symptoms. One study that compared exercise to social support found that exercise was more effective in treating depression. Even going for a walk was enough to reduce symptoms. In some cases, running has even been found to be as successful as cognitive therapy.
People experiencing anxiety could benefit from going for a walk. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce anxiety, both short-term and long-term. One workout can ease your anxious feelings for the day, while continuing your exercises consistently may regularly diminish symptoms.
A good workout doesn’t just improve symptoms of depression — it can actually make you happier as well. The ”runner’s high” you may have heard of is not just an expression; researchers have found that people often do experience euphoria after running a long distance.
“Exercise is one of the best ways to improve mood because it is available to everyone,” says Robert Gerken, administrator at Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Even people who do not usually exercise will feel the effects when they get started, and the workouts do not need to be difficult to be effective.”
Going for a run, lifting weights and even walking can improve your mood and even your overall mental health. Pick your favorite exercise and see how it changes your day.
A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.