What activity would suit you best when you are lonely, angry, or stressed?
What activity would suit you best when you are lonely, angry, or stressed, and how should you exercise to improve energy and concentration or develop patience? The complete guide to adapting the physical activity to your mood
It is not easy to mobilize motivation for physical activity on days when you feel heavy and "crushed". This feeling may come from accumulated fatigue due to lack of sleep hours or prolonged stress. Some studies have shown that moderate exercise may improve energy levels in people with chronic fatigue.
For example, in a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in 2008, scientists from the University of Georgia discovered that physical activity contributes to energy for a long time because it improves the function and efficiency of the heart muscle and lungs. It was also found that 20 minutes a day of low to moderate intensity activity, three times a week, is enough to reduce the feeling of fatigue by 64% and increase energy levels by 20% in just six weeks.
Take a five-minute walk (eg from your house to the beginning of the street and back). Over time, try to increase the duration of the walk to 20-30 minutes. Studies show that short and quick walks (preferably in nature) raise the energy level and recalibrate a tired brain.
Do strength training for 30 minutes. Beyond strengthening the muscles, it will contribute to a sense of vitality, a higher energy level, and even improved self-confidence.
Go for a bike ride in the park at a moderate pace for 20-30 minutes.
Anger and nervousness
Anger is a basic and normal emotion that we all experience in response to the unwanted behavior of others. In its healthy form, anger provides a warning signal to the brain that something is wrong, which causes an increased release of adrenaline to provide the body with enough energy to correct the situation. The problem with anger arises when you don't know how to manage it
In many studies that examined the effect of physical activity on teenagers, it was found that it provides an opportunity to release negative emotions and reduce aggression by releasing substances that induce relaxation and relieve stress and pressure, such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. In addition, it was found that people who perform regular and continuous physical activity report an increase in their ability to restrain themselves and manage their emotions.
As soon as the anger rises in you, immediately go for a 20-minute walk (don't worry, the adrenaline rush during anger will provide you with enough energy for a fast-walking pace).
Don't feel like going for a brisk walk? Place a punching bag in the study or at home and take out the rage with punches.
Do a short HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout. This workout will make your heartbeat faster and will provide a great benefit in releasing tension and nerves.
Is a softer activity suitable for you? Yoga, meditation, tai chi, and exercises that regulate your breathing and slow your heart rate may provide you with a more relaxed alternative.
In a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2019, it was found that morning exercise has a significantly beneficial effect on reducing anger and mental stress compared to evening exercise.
In a Swedish study from 2021, published in the journal Frontiers In Psychiatry and including about 400,000 participants, physical activity can reduce the risk of developing anxiety by 60% compared to people who are not physically active. In another Swedish study, recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, it was found that performing physical activity that combines aerobics with strength for 45-60 minutes (whether at a low or high intensity), helped reduce anxiety symptoms already after 12 weeks
Don't have the patience to wait three months for the feeling to improve? Some studies have shown that even one 20-minute aerobic workout can lower anxiety levels and produce calmness for several hours.
How does exercise help reduce anxiety? Researchers estimate that the very practice of it distracts the attention from the cause of which you are anxious. In addition, the movement releases muscle tension, and increasing the heart rate during activity changes the chemistry of the brain and increases the availability of neurotransmitters that improve general feeling, such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma amino butyric acid (GABA).
Mental stress is one of the most common causes of memory loss
According to the UK's National Health Service (NHS), mental stress is one of the most common causes of memory loss. This is because when we are stressed, it interferes with our brain's ability to encode new information. Research shows that one of the simple solutions to this distraction is physical activity. For example, in one of the studies, published in PLOS ONE in 2015, it was found that moderate and relatively prolonged physical activity plays a significant role in improving the performance of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. One of the explanations for this is an increase in BDNF levels - a protein that helps maintain existing nerve cells and contributes to the normal development of new nerve cells
In a later study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2018, the times were shortened. It was found that even a short activity will be enough to achieve the goal. In the study, it was found that participants who performed only 10 consecutive minutes of brisk walking achieved an immediate improvement in their memory performance compared to the time when they avoided activity. The researchers even clarified that an activity that does not require a high effort is enough to enjoy these benefits.
Dejected and sad
When the mood is low, the last thing you probably want to do is find yourself in a Zumba class with a group of people who look like they just won the lottery. But you should know that the effect of physical activity on the feeling of depression and sadness has been tested in many studies. Studies show that during physical activity the brain secretes more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for a good mood and mental pain relief, and it has been found that even a little exercise every day may prevent depression - the main thing is that you move.
In a meta-analysis published last April in the journal JAMA Psychology and including about 20,000 participants, the researchers found that those who performed even only half of the recommended amount of physical activity (2.5 hours of brisk walking per week) were able to lower the risk of depression by 18% compared to those who did not exercise at all, and those who did exercise at the recommended volume had a 25% lower risk of depression. The analysis only included follow-ups that lasted more than three years and 64% of the participants were women. Among the explanations provided by researchers for the link between depression and improved mood: people who exercise sleep better. As a result, their ability to regulate moods improves. In addition, the activity contributes to a high sense of self-esteem and provides an opportunity for positive social interactions.
feeling of loneliness
According to the Center for National Statistics in the UK, one in ten people report feeling lonely most of the time. Although Australians are not British, we also have no shortage of events that will intensify the feeling of loneliness, such as the children who left the nest, the friend who abandoned him, and even just seasonal loneliness that leaves us stranded at home under the covers.
One of the ways to enjoy good company and as a bonus also better health is exercise. Use it to change the situation.