In The Psychologist this month Christian Jarrett summarises some of the recent research on the best way to use exercise to boost mood and combat stress/anxiety. Here are some of the salient points:
- Moderate intensity exercise is best, perhaps because low intensity is dull and high intensity is too unpleasant! You need to get out of breath enough where you can’t sing, but could still hold something of a conversation.
- However mindfulness based exercises such as Yoga and Pilates can also improve mood, as even though you may not get much of an aerobic workout, you are still concentrating your mind on your body in a positive way.
- 10-30 minutes duration is ample (but no less than 10). Therefore a brisk walk round the block will do when you can’t make it to the gym…
- Allow for your own fitness level and preferences, so that you find that sweet spot where exercise is enough of a challenge without being unpleasant.
- Include weight training as well, as that enables you to see your progress in a visible way.
So I shall continue with Zumba,Spin, Pilates and BodyPump, knowing that I am exercising my mind as well as my body.