Brief Activity Enhances the Mood

Click to go to our Home Page


Doctors have long known that exercise helps relieve depression. Now a study conducted at Northern Arizona University suggests that brief daily periods of exer- cise can lift the mood of healthy young college students as well.

Lead investigator Cheryl J. Hansen and her colleagues studied 14 female students who exercised for 10, 20, or 30 minutes once a week, and compared their changes in mood to that following a period of just sitting quietly for 30 minutes. The result: 10 minutes of moderate exercise was enough to improve overall mood, as well as increase vigor and decrease fatigue. Longer bouts of exercise had no further effect on mood.

Current recommendations are for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, but these can be accomplished in shorter spurts. These findings should help doctors tailor exercise recommendations to maximize both physical and psycho- logical benefits, Hansen says.