By Matt Evans
There's nothing that can boost your mood quite like a good workout. Whether it's the endorphins that boost our mood, the satisfaction of a goal hit, or the ability to get back to nature if you're exercising outdoors, there's no doubt exercise is beneficial for mind as well as body.
It's September, and while the sun may shine (periodically, depending on where you are in the world), it won't be long before the winter sets in. For some of us, that means Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can take steps to counter this with the best SAD lamps and best sunrise alarm clocks to keep our vitamin D and natural light quota going, but exercise, even as the nights get darker, is a sure-fire way to keep the blues at bay.
Yoga teacher, personal trainer and occupational therapist Cat Taylor is on hand to help get the most out of our day, and elevate our mood, with a 30-minute HIIT session. Originally filmed for our instagram account, her upbeat, positive flow, upbeat commentary and Urethra Franklin soundtrack is guaranteed to put a smile on your face while you tone up and sweat it out.
Watch our "Happiness HIIT" workout with Cat Taylor below
Why an intense HIIT workout will boost your mood
If exercise in any capacity has been known to boost mood, it stands to reason that HIIT, short for high-intensity interval training, is especially effective because it forces us to work at maximum intensity. Researchers from Tunisia looked into this, studying HIIT training's effect on mood in overweight men who began a HIIT training programme.
The researchers found the exercise to have positive results on body and mind. They wrote: "the beneficial effect on mood state may also be explained by physiological secretion of neuroendocrine factors such as monoamines, endorphins and endocabannoids in response to physical exercise". Endocannibanoids produced naturally in the body, are also said to be the chemicals responsible for the famous "runner's high".
Cat's workout also includes lots of resistance training work such as squats, push ups, bicycle crunches and more. Harvard University found resistance training can produce "significant" reduction in depression symptoms, owing to resistance exercise being particularly suitable when it comes to releasing endorphins.
You can do a calisthenics HIIT workout like the one above, of course, but a set of dumbbells or our best resistance bands also go a long way to developing your muscles.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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