Previous studies have found regular exercise will improve moods, but a new New York University review claims just one workout will reduce stress and improve memory
Runners have long boasted of their ‘high’ after jogs, reporting feelings of euphoria and less anxiousness.
Research has backed up their claims and confirmed that regular exercise will boost moods, reduce stress and lower the risk of depression.
However, a new review found that just one sweat-inducing workout is enough to achieve these mood-elevating benefits.
The review was conducted by researchers at New York University’s Center for Neural Science, looking at how exercise impacts the brain.
Authors examined how just one workout can cause neurological changes, as a stepping stone to see what exercise can do over a longer period of time.
The experts looked at numerous studies that centered on the benefits of exercise in regards to mental health to draw their conclusions.
Author Dr Wendy Suzuki said: ‘Exercise interventions are currently being used to help address everything from cognitive impairments in normal aging, minimal cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease to motor deficits in Parkinson’s disease and mood states in depression.
‘Our review highlights the neural mechanisms and pathways by which exercise might produce these clinically relevant effects.’
The most consistent behavioral effects of short-term exercise are enhanced mood, decreased stress levels and improved executive functions, according to the researchers.
They also found after one workout the brain was activated in multiple areas, as well as the brain system.
The review then looked at the brain’s chemical releases of dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine, which alter moods.
Previous studies confirm that exercise makes people feel better and these chemicals lower the risk of depression.
These natural antidepressant chemicals work to give the body a positive euphoric feeling, which then lowers the risk.
Exercising regularly has been shown to cut depression rates almost in half, from 16.3 percent to 8.3 percent.
Scientists at the University of Connecticut revealed light physical exercise, the equivalent of taking a leisurely walk through the park, is enough to lift the spirits.
And going for a short walk is more likely to boost your mood than taking part in rigorous exercise, according to the research.
Experts found people who take part in light-intensity activity are more likely to report high levels of psychological well-being.
People who reported higher levels of sedentary behavior also reported lower levels of subjective well-being, meaning those who sat around a lot were the least happiest.
Subjective well-being is defined as the positive and negative evaluations that people make of their own lives
In general, physical activity improved people’s sense of well-being.
Yet, different intensities of physical activity were more beneficial to some people than others.
For instance, people who participated in light-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower levels of depression.
People who participated in moderate-intensity physical activity reported higher levels of psychological well-being and lower pain severity levels.
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