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Exercise Benefits: Feel Happy for 12 Hours

Exercise Benefits: Feel Happy for 12 Hours

Spend 20 easy minutes doing this and you could help guarantee a good mood for 12 hours: walk.

That's what a study revealed. A short, moderately paced workout produced feel-good brain chemicals that lasted up to 12 hours afterward.

Step up to a good mood
In the study, college students either rested quietly for 20 minutes or cycled on a stationary bike for the same amount of time. And the cyclers weren't even really pushing it. They merely exercised at a mild to moderate pace (60 percent of maximum heart rate). Both groups reported lower levels of negative emotions—like anger, depression, fatigue and tension—immediately after the experiment as well as 2 hours later. But only the cyclers continued to enjoy their happier mindset a full 12 hours after the workout session.

Attitude adjustment
Yep, it all boils down to those mood-enhancing brain chemicals that exercise is so good at producing. Here's the catch, though: To get the full exercise benefits as they relate to your temperament, you need to exercise all or most days of the week—not just once in a while. So lace up those walking shoes. It's only 20 minutes out of your day, right? And here are some ways to help those 20 minutes fly by:

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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