Research Reveals 30-Minute Exercise Alleviates Depressed Emotional State

Being active improves emotional health. (Photo via

Research suggests that exercise can boost blood flow and oxygen levels, impacting neurotransmitter function and chemical balance, thereby offering relief from depression. Notably, just 30 minutes of exercise can contribute to enhanced feelings of well-being.

Washington, D.C. (WS News Publisher) – A significant portion of the population faces the dual challenges of work demands and financial strains. In the absence of effective emotional coping mechanisms, there’s a risk of a progressive decline in happiness levels, manifesting as mild to severe depressive symptoms. It is often said that when you are in a bad mood, go for a walk or exercise! Now scientists have found that exercise may be a way to relieve depression.

Exercise may help relieve some depressed emotional states, according to recent research from Iowa State University (ISU). Even brief, low-intensity exercise can affect people’s perception of happiness. The research has been published in the international journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

To understand the link between depression and exercise, the research team recruited 30 adults with major depression to perform 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling. Subjects filled out electronic questionnaires before, during, and 25, 50, and 75 minutes after exercise for psychological or cognitive assessments.

The researchers found that the subjects’ depressed emotional state was relieved within 30 minutes of exercise and 75 minutes afterward. After about 75 minutes, the relief started to fade, but it was still better than for those who didn’t exercise. For a period of time after exercise, people with depression are better able to receive psychological testing or treatment and temporarily increase the benefits they get from treatment.

“We’re not sure how long the short-term effects last, but depressed mood states are still relieved 75 minutes after exercise and may last longer, which is an encouraging finding,” said study co-author Dr. Jacob D. Meyer. On the other hand, the researchers found that exercise may prompt the brain to engage more in emotionally challenging tasks.

Besides exercise, what else can people do to regulate their emotions? From a biological point of view, depression is caused by too low “Serotonin,” which causes depression, insomnia, and memory decline. Excessive stress, lack of sleep, or malnutrition can affect the secretion of serotonin. Some doctors give patients oral tryptophan to promote the increase of serotonin, but in addition to prescription, tryptophan also can be taken in food.

Why take tryptophan? Studies have shown that tryptophan can slow down negative emotions and help sleep. Tryptophan, also known as the “happiness hormone,” is an essential amino acid for the human body, promoting the production of serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin helps to fall asleep and improve sleep quality; serotonin is related to concentration, energy, and feelings of happiness.

Foods containing high tryptophan:

1. Whole grains: oats, wheat germ, buckwheat
2. Nuts: sesame, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds
3. Beans: black soybeans, edamame, chickpeas, natto, tofu, soy milk
4. Dairy products: fresh milk, yogurt, cheese
5. Algae: seaweed, hair vegetable, long thread moss

In addition, eggs, honey, and chocolate are also foods that contain tryptophan. Perhaps honey and chocolate have always been popular gifts because they always make people feel happy! Do you often feel depressed? In addition to telling relatives and friends about your mood, it is also a good way to regulate your mood through daily exercise and eating foods containing tryptophan.

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