March 23, 2019

Exercise Is Mood Sorcery

“Outside magazine has a useful reminder this week that exercise is basically magic for our brains and moods.

People have always known that moving around transforms the way we feel, and increasingly science has been backing this up with data: Exercise can ease depression and anxiety and stimulate creativity, for instance (perhaps by enhancing circulation and brain-cell regeneration). Plus in the right circumstances it will braid your hair and do your taxes. It also demonstrably reduces overall moods of anger, if not acute emotions of anger — moods being broader and more long-lasting than emotions, emotions being more fleeting and pronounced than moods.

A new study, published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found that a 30-minute “moderate-to-vigorous” bike ride alleviated participants’ angry moods — but not, later, their angry emotions (as triggered by showing them upsetting photographs). So, sort of an odd study, but always a good reminder that moving through the world transforms the way we feel about it. A similar study in 2007 revealed a similar finding, as Outside’s Alex Hutchinson points out.”

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