In an article posted yesterday, Jeff Haden lists nine things science says to do to be happier. Here’s #8 (time to “moderately” hit the pool):
8. Exercise for twenty minutes after you wake up.
Researchers at the University of Vermont found that aerobic training of “moderate intensity,” with an average heart rate of around 112 beats a minute–elevated, sure, but it’s not like they were hammering away — improved participants’ mood for up to twelve hours after exercise.
According to Dr. Jeremy Sibold, “Moderate intensity aerobic exercise improves mood immediately and those improvements can last up to 12 hours. This goes a long way to show that even moderate aerobic exercise has the potential to mitigate the daily stress that results in your mood being disturbed.”
And you’ll also feel smarter; exercise creates new brain cells and makes those new cells more effective. As Gretchen Reynolds says, “Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.”
So there you go: Work out first thing. Feel better. Be smarter. Sure, you could work out after work, but then the happy feelings and extra brain power will be wasted while you’re asleep.
Remember, you only need to do about 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise. For most people, “moderate” means your heart rate should be within 100 to 120 beats per minute (depending on age, fitness level, medical conditions, etc.).
That’s a small price to pay for being happier all day.