Why does a lack of exercise effects your mood?

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Exercise and the effects on your mood

By Ryan Light, Running/Anxiety Coach

Lack of Physical activity can deal a major blow on one’s mood and general health. This is because exercise has been found to aid in the prevention and improvement of various health conditions, including anxiety, panic, mood swings and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Research on moods, anxiety and exercise shows that physical and psychological benefits of exercise include reduced anxiety and improved mood. And, while the connection between anxiety, mood swing and physical activity are not clear, working out eases symptoms of anxiety making the person feel better. Studies have shown that exercise also helps keep anxiety from coming back once an individual feels better.

Benefits of exercise

By engaging in activities a person enjoys, and also coming up with a regular moderate exercise, one can experience various health benefits of exercise. Exercise improves health and well-being of an individual in the following ways:

  • Easing anxiety and reducing tension-exercise acts as a distraction and hence gets you away from negative thoughts that feed anxiety. Exercising on a regular basis will enable you to take charge of anxiety thereby reducing stress, frustration and anger, which are the main contributors of worries and other mental problems. You will, therefore, be able to find quite time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
  • Lifting mood-exercising releases endorphins, a powerful chemical that invigorates your spirits making you feel mood. In fact, many times exercise alone can treat moderate depression just like an antidepressant medication yet without side effects. Apart from relieving depression and hence enhancing your moods, maintaining a regular exercise program can greatly help you from relapsing. Evading physical activity, drinking alcohol or hoping that moods swings will go away naturally, on the other hand, will worsen the symptoms.

Difference between exercise and physical activity

While exercise and physical activity do not refer to the same thing, both are beneficial to one’s health and wellbeing. As a matter of fact, research has shown that even simple physical activity for instance regular walking helps improve mood.

The differences are as follows:

  • Physical activity-any activity that, not only contract muscles, but also expends energy and hence includes household or work or leisure activities
    exercise-planned, organized and repetitive body movement that is done to enhance or even maintain physical fitness.
  • It is important to note, therefore, that exercise does not necessarily involve running several laps in the gym, for instance. Exercise comprises various activities that improve your activity level helping you feel better.

How to choose the best exercise

Choose an activity that you enjoy and which fits easily to your lifestyle, as opposed to one that discourages you from maintaining the program. Consider doing aerobics, exercise that considerably raises your heart rate, such as cycling, running and swimming as well as resistance exercise especially if you suffer from OCD. Interestingly, regardless of the specific activity you opt for or the level of intensity you exercise at, every bit will go a long way in improving your physical and mental health. Avoiding, on the contrary, will wreak havoc on you self-confidence and thereby may cause further anxiety issues.

Other health benefits of exercise

Sharpen brain power: The endorphins released while exercising will increase concentration making you feel sharp for other activities. Exercise, either boost the growth of new brain cells effectively preventing age related decline.

Improve sleep: Exercise, however short it may be, can help regulate sleep patterns. If you choose to exercise at night, consider relaxing exercise such as gentle stretch or pilates as they have been found to promote sleep. Lack of exercise, on the other hand, leads to poor sleeping patterns that are associated with stress and depressions.

Boosts energy: By increasing your heart rate, more blood will flow in your system implying that more energy will be supplied to your various body organs. The opposite is true when you fail to exercise or do any physical activity. So, save yourself the trouble of taking energy tablets by starting off with a few minutes of exercise regularly, and later on increase your activity as your energy levels increase.


Exercising brings several health and mental benefits to your life. Apart from contributing to your wellbeing, physical activity and exercise improves immunity reducing the impact of stress and depression. By not participating in any physical activity, lower your moods leading to many other grave mental problems.

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Ryan Light

About Ryan Light

I started to run after a very stressful time in my life. I suffered most of my life with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic, and anxiety. I tried everything from diets to conventional medicines – nothing worked. Running saved my life – literally, I was at the bottom with my OCD, panic, and anxiety, and on the verge of suicide. Running gave me a new found adventure, a goal, an escape so to say. It’s been seven years since I took my first run…Currently I have run over 40 Half Marathons, Three Full Marathons, and countless amounts of 5 & 10Ks” and loving every minute of it. I’ve made some outstanding friends, overcame challenges I thought I’d never could, and best of all found a passion in life! To learn more...http://realrunryan.com/about-running/

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