Exercise: The 12-Hour Antidepressant

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We've all heard that exercise can help boost your mood, but a new study shows that the effects might last longer than previously thought. A study from the American College of Sports Medicine found that exercise could improve your mood for up to 12 hours (instead of just the hour or so that's been documented by earlier research).

Participants were asked to complete a survey about their mood states at one-, two-, four-, eight-, 12- and 24-hour intervals following either exercise or rest. They exercised at 60% of their aerobic capacity, which would be a light walk or leisurely bike ride for most people. So the good news is that they were able to see the benefits without having to do a high intensity workout, and the positive results occurred in both men and women of all ages and fitness levels.

I'm not sure how long my good mood lasts, but I know I usually feel great after a run. Even if the run didn't go as well as I would have liked, I still feel more positive and refreshed because I did it. My husband always finds room in our busy schedule to watch the kids so that I get time for my workout. He jokes that it not only makes me happy, but everyone around me also benefits because I'm much easier to live with.

I've often heard that most people don't love to exercise, but they're addicted to the feelings they have when it's done. There are a lot of days when I'm one of those people. I have to tell myself to just keep running and not quit, because I'll feel so good (both physically and mentally) when I finish.

What do you think? Do you notice a difference in your mood after a workout? How long do those feelings usually last for you?