Work Out According to your Mood

Whether you’re struggling with deadlines, emails, school runs or too many late nights, we all have times when we feel tired, stressed or just a little overwhelmed. However you’re feeling, it doesn’t mean your exercise regime should suffer. Instead, tailor your workout to suit your mood a little better. Here’s how to do it.

If you feel anxious

Running is a great way to clear your mind if you find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed. When you run, blood circulation and oxygen to the brain are increased, while cortisol, the primary stress hormone is reduced. At the same time, several neurotransmitters are released such as norepinephrine and endorphins, which enhance mental focus and improve mood.

If you feel stressed

Alongside the rhythmic movements that characterise yoga practises, the controlled breathing which engages the parasympathetic nervous system (or the rest and digest phase) makes it one of the best stress-busting exercises out there. If you’re feeling too het up for a spot of something more energetic like vinyasa, why not try some yin yoga which requires you to hold each pose for longer and deeper, ensuring you’ll feel totally zen and calm by the end of it.

If you feel tired

You may feel like exercise is the last thing you want to do if you’re shattered, but rather than making you more fatigued, exercise will serve to energise you and can banish fatigue on a more long-term scale. That said, there’s no point pushing yourself if your reserves are low; instead take it easier with something more low intensity like brisk walking or a session on an elliptical machine. You'll still benefit from the post-workout endorphin rush but neither require as much physical or mental energy as something like a high energy class or HIIT session.

If you feel sad

If you’re battling a low mood or depression, exercising might feel impossible. If you can motivate yourself to do something, rest assured that any kind of movement is better than nothing and will impact you positively. Whether that’s a gentle walk or something like a few simple stretches with a mini band set from the comfort of your own home is up to you to judge. Once you do start moving, chances are you’ll find you reap the rewards and the next session will come more easily.

If you feel angry

If you’re the kind of person who needs to take the heat out of their emotions by doing something explosive, then high octane exercise like boxing or circuit training is a good idea. Studies have shown that aerobic activity is a proven way to calm your nerves if you’re feeling angry or frustrated, plus it’s a great way to redirect your focus on to something else. Thanks to the post workout high courtesy of endorphins and feel-good hormones, you’re much more likely to leave the session feeling calmer and better than when you started.