Every minute of movement helps
One study performed in 2021 showed improvements in mood after only 6 minutes of self-paced walking every day in older adults.
“Study results imply that a short 6-minute bout of physical activity can help improve feelings of energy and increase
motivation to perform physical tasks while decreasing feelings
of fatigue and confusion” (Boolani et al., 2021, p.23).
There was also a significant relationship between the pace of exercise and the subjects' moods.
“Faster pace was associated with significant improvements in fatigue, energy, tension, confusion, total mood disturbance, state mental fatigue, and state physical energy” (Boolani et al., 2021, p.18).
Moral of the story?
Some movement is better than none, and the more vigorous the movement, the better you can feel.
The science is clear: it doesn’t take much exercise to make you feel better physically and mentally.
More research is showing how exercise can even be used as a treatment for mild to moderate depression.
One meta-analysis summarizing the effect of acute response of exercise in people with depression concluded that, “people with depressive disorders experience a positive acute affective response to a single bout of physical activity” (Bourke et al., 2022, p.361).
This response includes decreased feelings of sadness, increased motivation, and improved cognition.
Want to know more? Click here for the American Heart Association's recommendations for physical activity.
Boolani, A., Sur, S., Yang, D., Avolio, A., Goodwin, A., Mondal, S., Fulk, G., Towler, C., & Lee Smith, M. (2019). Six minutes of physical activity improves mood in older adults: A pilot study. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, 44, 18. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health). 10.1519/jpt.0000000000000233
Bourke, M., Patten, R. K., Klamert, L., Klepac, B., Dash, S., & Pascoe, M. C. (2022). The acute affective response to physical activity in people with depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 311, 353-363. 10.1016/j.jad.2022.05.089