A good workout does wonders for your body. You can cycle faster, longer and harder when you condition your muscles to do so. Consequently, you feel good about yourself, but can it actually have an effect on your psychological well being?
A new study, conducted by Emily Bernstein and Richard McNally, sought to find a link between physical activity and emotional states.
They believed that each candidate would recover at different rates after experienced unpleasant feelings. However, those who had exercised prior to a negative event, would emotionally recover quicker than those who didn't exercise at all.
Their experiment involved 40 men and 40 women who were split into two groups: aerobic exercisers and stretchers. They were asked to complete a survey to determine their emotional levels prior to the experiment, after which the group was split. Half of the candidates jogged for 30mins (aerobic exercise - much like cycling), whilst the other half stretched for the same amount of time.
After which, the test group was shown a piece of upsetting footage. The aim of this film was to invoke negative feelings and emotions. After this, they were asked to fill out another survey to measure their emotional levels after the sad movie.
The last part of the experiment was to show the 80 subjects a piece of film known to be amusing.
What Bernstein and McNally found was that those participants who had completed 30 minutes of exercise reported lesser feelings of sadness by the end of the study, than those who hadn't exercised.
Bernstein and McNally concluded that: "Participants who exercised were better able to overcome or compensate for initial difficulties drawing on regulatory strategies and with goal-directed cognition and behaviour" in comparison to non-exercisers.
If getting on the bike for fitness wasn't a good enough excuse, the news that aerobic exercise can help promote emotional stability is another reason to pedal it out.
This may explain why we still push ourselves to ride after a bad day at work, or if we're feeling a little down. Sweating it out, boosting the happy chemicals and the sense of achievement all culminate to promote a happier you.
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