Exercise to beat the blues
Read on to discover the amazing mood-boosting benefits of exercise, and how just 10 minutes of activity can make all the difference to your happiness…
Exercise is undoubtedly a fantastic mood-booster. You only need to think about how you feel when you’re walking in the park on a summer’s day to know this is true. And for many years there have been an increasing number of studies into the positive effects of exercise on mood: ‘Research has shown that when it comes to combating depression, exercise can be equally as effective as antidepressants and counselling,’ says Stuart Biddle, Professor of Exercise and Sport Psychology at Loughborough University.‘
But although the evidence shows that exercise promotes positive mood, we’re not exactly sure how it does this. Exercise does affect levels of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and endorphins in your brain, but as all studies have been carried out on animals, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how this works.’
Adrian Taylor, Professor in Exercise and Health Psychology at the University of Exeter University and founding editor of the journal Mental Health And Physical Activity, agrees, and goes on to say that another theory suggests that regular exercise results in structural changes in our brain that may have this effect.
‘Exercise encourages blood flow to the brain, and seems to facilitate our brain’s ability to grow and adapt,’ he says. ‘This is because, for example, if you’re walking outside you constantly have to react to changes in your environment so that you don’t trip over, and your brain is also stimulated by the changing scenery. This lays down new neural pathways in your brain and actually helps to keep it young, so you feel more alert and are less prone to experiencing negative moods.’
For more about how exercise can benefit your mood, click here to read the full feature on dietdiaries.co.uk