Need a quick mood pick-me-up? Forget the chocolate in the cupboard. Skip the coffee. And don’t give in to the lure of the candy bowl on the receptionist’s desk. Instead, try these science-backed ways to go from feeling blue to badass Brain Warrior mode and discover the one type of exercise associated with the greatest improvement in mood. It might surprise you.
Stretch to Calm Stress
Feeling stressed? Brighten your mood with some sun salutations. Research in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at the moods and anxiety levels of people who did an hour of yoga three times a week for 12 weeks. In this study, the people who practice yoga experienced increased levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter associated with relaxation.
Cycle Your Way to Better Energy
Struggling with fatigue and low energy? Did you know that doing just one 30-minute cycling session at low to moderate intensity can pump up your energy levels? That’s what researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens discovered. What I love about their study is they didn’t just rely on the participants’ self-reported energy levels. They used electroencephalogram (EEG) readings to measure electrical changes in the brain and saw that cycling activated neural networks related to energy. As a Brain Warrior, you know it’s important to protect your head, so if you’re going to cycle either try a session on a stationary bike or wear a helmet if you’re biking outdoors.
Get Outside for a Sunnier Mood
When you’re feeling irritable and angry, head outdoors for a walk or hike in nature. Studies find that exercising in nature reduces anger and depression and improved mood. Having a body of water in your eyesight produced an even bigger mood boost. Exercising outside also helps you soak up some vitamin D, which has been associated with depression when levels are low. And the great outdoors increases the production of the “don’t worry, be happy” neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a natural mood booster.
Lift Weights to Lift Your Spirits
Researchers have analyzed 38 studies to determine which type of exercise had the biggest impact on mood. You may be surprised that anaerobic activity, such as weightlifting, took the top prize for greatest mood improvement. And it did it in as little as 10 minutes. And you don’t need to suffer with the heavy weights. The study found that moderate intensity strength training offered the biggest mood boost. So, if you need a quick jolt of happiness, pick up a few barbells and start lifting.
Check out my fitness videos on my YouTube channel for strength training tips and support healthy moods with GABA Calming Support and Serotonin Mood Support. Take 21% off your order when you enter TANA21 at checkout.