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Workouts that can help boost your mood, clear your mind

August 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
People often go for coffee when they're sleepy, chocolate when they're depressed, and a little wine when they're stressed. Turning to these foods isn't a bad idea as each offers a little element that your body is looking for, but science says exercise can do that too.

So which workouts can help boost your mood?

If you find yourself dragging, putting your pedal to the metal can help -- on a bike that is. University of Georgia found 30 minutes of cycling boosts energy. Even as little as 15 minutes, three times a week showed benefits.

Several studies find weight training does more than tone muscles. Those performing simple strength exercises three to five times weekly had better clarity or improved memory. The participants performed significantly better on cognitive tests than a control group not weight training at all.

Pumping iron can also boost mood with studies seeing large improvements in chronic fatigue, reducing anxiety and depression. Those who engage in strength training are also reported to have healthy sleep patterns and reduced sleep apnea.

Researches find cardio can do plenty for you besides burning calories. A-20 minute session can provide mood boosting benefits for up to 12 hours. Studies show a rise in feel good brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

If stress is an issue, the British Journal of Sports Medicine finds tai chi is meditation in motion; a remedy to relax muscles, calm the mind, and improve balance, strength and flexibility.

And not surprising, yoga is found to reduce anxiety when done three times a week.

Keep in mind even though exercise is actually a low level form of stress, when performed often, the body builds up immunity to that stress so we handle workouts and life's stressors much better.