Exercise can indeed boost people's moods,
but they may have to start off down in the dumps to feel the
Researchers found that an hour of aerobics
reduced tension, anger and fatigue among their study participants,
with the benefit being significantly greater among those who
felt depressed before the exercise bout.
A number of studies have shown that exercise
can lift a person's spirits, and there is even evidence that
physical activity can aid in treating clinical depression.
The current study focused on "depressed mood," rather
than clinical depression.
Research demonstrates that different types
and intensities of exercise have varying effects on individuals'
moods. The researchers studied 80 young men and women who
volunteered to take mood tests just before and after an hour-long
The investigators determined that 52 volunteers
were in depressed moods before the exercise, while 28 were
After exercise, the depressed-mood group
was significantly more likely to report a reduction in anger,
fatigue and tension, as well as increased vigor.
At least in the context of an aerobics
class, merely getting through the activity may give a lift
to a person who is feeling down.
Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness December 2001;41:539-545