Move Early for a 12-Hour Mood Boost

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When a team of researchers assigned a group of college students to exercise, then tracked their mood the next day, they made a surprising discovery. 

After just 20 minutes of a moderate-intensity workout, the students were in a much better mood compared with a control group of students who did not exercise. The researchers expected this result based on previous findings. What surprised them was the durability of this increase in mood. Students in the group who exercised continued to feel better throughout the day. They were in a better mood 2, 4, 8, and even 12 hours later.

A mere 20 minutes of moderate activity could significantly improve your mood for the next 12 hours. So, while working out in the evening is better than no activity at all, you essentially sleep through and miss most of the boost in your mood. Exercising before you eat breakfast, instead of after, could also burn additional fat and improve glucose tolerance. Working out early also alleviates any guilt of putting it off and provides extra energy for the remainder of the day.

Instead of treating morning exercise as something that will drain your energy, as it often does the first few days until you establish a routine, remember that it will eventually give you additional energy. In addition to looking and feeling better, research suggests you will have extra brainpower and creative thought following periods of vigorous activity. Working out in the morning will also keep the 12-hour mood boost from going to waste.

Select a healthy standby snack today. Carry it with you wherever you go.

Make every meal last at least 20 minutes.

Exercise in the morning for a better mood and more brainpower all day.

By tom rath
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