Magazine article Work & Family Life

The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Exercise

Magazine article Work & Family Life

The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Exercise

Article excerpt

Regular exercise does more than benefit us physically. It provides emotional and psychological perks as well. Studies have found that, during exercise, several chemicals are released into the brain-offering a broad range of mood- and mindboosting effects.

"If you've ever gone for a run after a stressful day, chances are you felt better afterward," says Michael Otto, PhD, professor of psychology at Boston University. "The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect."

Psychologist Gary Small, PhD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center, says he was surprised by the number of positive emotional effects to be gained from regular exercise. Writing for PsychologyToday.com, he cited improved self-esteem, enhanced mood, better memory and mental functioning and decreased stress.

In a Duke University study of depression, psychologist James Blumenthal, PhD found that an exercise regimen for his patients turned out to be roughly comparable to taking an antidepressant.

Most of the studies by psychologists so far have focused on the benefits of aerobic exercise, although some have found that weight training may be effective as well. …

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