The positivity that comes from exercising

Have you noticed that on days that you run, you feel more enthusiastic and up-beat than normal? A study reported in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology ( Volume 33 - 6)) found that people who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less physically active.

The research carried out at Penn State University (USA) found that people are also more likely to report feelings of excitement and enthusiasm on days when they are more physically active.

Previous research has looked at how exercise effects pleasant or unpleasant feelings but this study has broken it down further. The researchers didn't only want to know if exercise created a pleasant feeling rather than unpleasant but whether it created pleasant-activated feelings exemplified by excitement and enthusiasm or pleasant-deactivated feelings exemplified by satisfaction and relaxation. They also asked the subjects to record any unpleasant-activated feelings exemplified by anxiety and anger, and unpleasant-deactivated feelings exemplified by depression and sadness.

The subjects kept daily diaries, for eight days, of their lived experiences, including free-time physical activity and sleep quantity and quality, as well as their mental states, including perceived stress and feeling states. They were instructed to only record episodes of physical activity that occurred for at least 15 minutes and to note whether the physical activity was mild, moderate or vigorous.

The results showed that pleasant-activated feelings occured when there was an increase in physical activity. Those who were more physically active had more pleasant-activated feelings and those feelings increased on the days when more physical activity took place than normal.

So it would seem that on the days when you train for longer or harder you will experience more up-beat feelings than on other days. It could also suggest that if you have had a particularly stressful or difficult day at work you may benefit from getting out there and ramping up the training on that day to overcome the stress and put the world to right in your mind!

More evidence that enthusiastic running makes enthusiastic people.

Happy running = Happy living!

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