While we might bemoan our morning jog (waking up at 6 AM never gets easier), new research has indicated there is yet another reason to lace up your running shoes; working out, specifically running, can make you feel happier.
A new study has indicated that acute aerobic exercise is an effective, scientifically proven mood booster.
Published in the journal Cognition and Emotion, the study tested how moderate exercise affected the way individuals regulate negative emotions. The 80 participants (50% women) were shown a scene from a movie, The Champ, intended to induce sadness, after which participants were asked to jog (aerobic exercise) or stretch (anaerobic exercise) for half an hour. After observing surveys taken about subjects’ emotional states before and after their workouts, researchers concluded that those who did run reported feeling less sadness at the end of the study compared to those who didn’t exercise. Meanwhile, those who showed difficulty regulating emotion, and described their pre-workout state akin to “despair” also felt less sadness after a 30-minute jog than those who did stretching.
They don’t call it a “runner’s high” for nothing, it seems.
And while researchers admitted they are still trying to fully determine the links between aerobic exercise and our moods, it’s a sure sign that it’s a good idea to revisit your running ambitions (as opposed to a Netflix binge) the next time you’re feeling blue.