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Exercise and Improving Your Mood


Updated June 13, 2014

Pretty senior woman walking in park
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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 swimming).

More on Exercise:
Make Exercise Fun
Hidden Benefits of Exercise
Want Better Sex? Exercise.
Sleep Better Through Exercise
Mental Fitness and Exercise
Your Immune System and Exercise
Learn to Love Exercise
Your Balance and Exercise
Get More Energy by Exercising
Increase Your Life Expectancy With Exercise
Strong Bones and Exercise
Your Social Life and Exercise


ADAM Medical Encyclopedia. The Benefits of Exercise.

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia. Report on Exercise.

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