Who doesn’t want to be happier? It’s a subject of conversation in counseling offices across the country. People seek out counselors and psychologists to improve their lives and happiness is a core component of our overall health. There are an infinite number of experiences that bring us happiness. Finding those experiences isn’t always easy. Maintaining them over time can be even more difficult. For decades, psychologists have documented the positive effects of exercise on mood. Much of that psychological research addresses how exercise reduces clinical levels of depression and anxiety. Even if you don’t suffer from depression or anxiety, chances are you want to be happier.
Despite the encouragement to exercise from psychologists and counselors, our country has not dramatically increased movement in recent years. One obstacle is the misperception of how much exercise is needed to improve mood. Many people view exercise as prohibitively time-consuming. That just isn’t true. The attached article examines the psychological literature and addresses the minimal amount of exercise needed to improve mood. Read the following excerpt from the article:
“…The amount of exercise needed to influence happiness was slight, Dr. Chen says. In several studies, people who worked out only once or twice a week said they felt much happier than those who never exercised. In other studies, 10 minutes a day of physical activity was linked with buoyant moods.”
Would exercising more than 10 minutes a day have an even greater impact on mood? Probably, but I’m not suggesting anyone shoot for psychological perfection. I’m suggesting small improvements for significant impact. I’ve blogged previously about how wanting to lose weight is the worst motivator for exercise. (https://joplinpsychology.com/blog/single/want-to-lose-weight-stop-trying) Exercise to improve your mood. Carve out 10 minutes a day to walk around the block and see what happens. Photo by Huyen Nguyen on Unsplash