To Feel Better, Exercise Harder: Study

WEDNESDAY May 4, 2011 -- Vigorous exercise offers more of a mood boost than less strenuous exercise, a new study finds.

U.K. researchers compared 11 sedentary people who did moderate and high-intensity exercise. Their mood was assessed before, during, immediately following, and 20 minutes after they did the workouts.

The participants' moods were more negative during and immediately after high-intensity exercise, compared to when they did the less strenuous exercise or no exercise. However, their mood 20 minutes after doing the vigorous workout was much better compared to before the workout.

This type of improvement did not occur after moderate or no exercise, the investigators found.

The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society in Glasgow, Scotland. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary because it has not been subject to the scrutiny required for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

"These results have implications for the recommended intensity of exercise required to produce the 'feel good factor' often experienced following exercise," author Dr. Nickolas Smith of Manchester Metropolitan University, said in a society news release.

"There are also implications regarding how people new to regular exercise should expect to feel during the exercise itself if they are to experience post-exercise mood benefits," he added.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

Posted: May 2011


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