Exercising, in general, has physical and psychological benefits by increasing endorphins (natural mood boosters), serotonin, and energy levels, while providing a sense of achievement and self-esteem, and much more. The link between mood and exercise is so strong that usually within 15 minutes of moderate exercise, you may already reap the mood-boosting effects.
These days, some types of exercises have been gaining notorious fame and popularity due to its high effects on mood. We know that winter can be a quite challenging season, energy and mood-wise. So if you need an extra push to keep up your health goals, shove stress away and maintain your energy levels up, here are four science-backed mood-boosting exercises what you can give a try (with a bonus tip for the best-rated studios in Amsterdam).
If you are feeling blue, get your yoga mattress ready. Yoga brings many benefits for both body and mind. A study from 2010 measured the anxiety levels and mood of people who practised yoga for 1 hour, 3 days per week, for 12 weeks. In the end, they matched the results with people who practised walking for the same amount of time.
The results showed that the Yogis had greater improvement in mood and anxiety levels. This is because Yoga is found to be associated with increased levels of GABA, an amino acid that may help reduce anxiety. It also promotes mental well-being due to the integration between body and mind.
Other studies also found that practising Yoga may enhance strength and flexibility, reduce stress, and depression, improve sleeping, and contribute to overall well-being and quality of life.
Some of the high-rated Yoga studios in Amsterdam:
Pilates is an exercise form similar to Yoga and it’s been proven to improve mental and physical well-being by providing complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. It is based on 6 principles (Concentration, Centering, Control, Breathing, Precision, and Flow) that increases attention and motivation while minimising stress on the body.
A study from 2016 has found that a single 1-hour exercise per week during a period of 10 weeks help improve mood and increase flexibility, balance, core and abdominal strength. Another study also shows that pilates exercises may lead to a sense of pleasure and fun, increasing serotonin (the brain chemicals responsible for maintaining mood balance), while reducing tension, anxiety and depression.
There are many variations of pilates, including Reformer and Barre. Although it isn’t clear which or if all have the same effects on mood, it is worth giving a try of which one works best for you.
Some of the high-rated pilates studios in Amsterdam:
Spinning studios these days are like nightclubs, with light shows, good group energy, and killer tracks. Spinning is a low-impact exercise on the joints and great cardio workout to build lower-body muscle strength and boost your mood. It combines elements of rhythm and dance with intense cardio, and you’ll barely feel like you are working out.
A study from 2013 found that spinning, possibly mediated by its effects on the vestibular system, shows great effects on mood. Another study also found that after a single 30-minute session of stationary cycling, people reported a boost in their energy levels. After a spinning class, you might be feeling a little sweaty but also your best. There’s nothing like an energetic and fun workout to get the blood (and mood) flowing!
Some of the high-rated spinning studios in Amsterdam:
HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training) is a popular way of exercising that you typically perform at 80 to 95% of your maximum heart rate, from anywhere between 5 seconds to eight minutes. By alternating between low/moderate intensity and high-intensity exercises, you are able to accomplish a lot more in a briefer time period.
A study in 2016 found that a HIIT workout can boost a protein called BDNF that is involved with cognitive function and mood regulation, which in turn, may improve your mood. It has also shown to improve fitness and cardiovascular health while reducing fat and increasing muscle mass.
HIIT can be done with or without equipment and can include a range of exercises like running, boxing, cycling, and weight training. Pick your favourite HIIT exercise and get ready to sweat and smile.
Some of the high-rated HIIT studios in Amsterdam:
These are just a few of the exercises you can try out to increase your mood and energy levels. But remember that, although they are known to "do the job", the results will also depend on your diet, how often you work out and what you personally like to do. It won’t probably work if you don’t like it.
So, pick something you enjoy, stick to it and be ready to reap all the benefits that a regular exercising routine has to offer. And let us know in the comments your experiences and your favourite mood-boosting exercises.
Ps: Our Keto chocolate bars with MCT’s are a great pre-workout snack to help increase happy feelings and energy. Order yours now!