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Moves that boost your mood

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Workouts that boost your mood

Depending on the mood you're in, it can be hard to get motivated for a workout. But studies show getting some exercise, whether you've spent the day crying or yelling, can boost your spirits and make you feel more confident and in control. The key? Finding a workout to match whatever mood you're in. Here's how.

Workouts that boost your mood

Workouts for when you're angry

The mood: You've had "one of those days" and after everything you've been through, exercising is the furthest thing from your mind.

The mood-boosting moves: Put that negative and ired energy to use by taking a kickboxing class or by playing a round of tennis. The focus you have to maintain during both activities will draw your thoughts away from your aggravating day and help you focus on your body and proper breathing.

An added bonus: You'll burn lots of calories. A 135-pound woman will burn over 320 calories in just over 30 minutes of kickboxing, and over 250 calories playing 30 minutes of tennis.

Workouts for when you're sad and upset

The mood: Whether you're feeling lost or confused or are dealing with the loss of a family member, pet or part of your life, it can seem impossible to muster up energy for exercise. You may also feel exhausted from lack of sleep or too much crying.

The mood-boosting moves: Take part in an activity that slowly boosts your spirits and heart rate, like leisure cycling or walking with a friend. Other options include yoga or Pilates (both of which will focus your breathing and take your mind away from unsettling thoughts).

An added bonus: You'll sleep better. If you're upset or dealing with a case of the blues, stress can keep you up at night. Exercise can help you get the rest you need.

Workouts for when you're antsy or restless

The mood: You want to workout, but your usual exercise routine doesn't look like it's going to cut it.

The mood-boosting moves: Try something daring like rock climbing or circus sports. You can put your boundless energy into a new activity, reduce your stress, and stimulate your brain.

An added bonus: You'll work your muscles in a new way, which helps improve muscle tone and keeps you from sustaining a repetitive stress injury caused by doing the same workout all the time.

Workouts for when you're stressed

The mood: You have too much to do and too little time to do it, and you think there's no way exercise is going to fit into your schedule.

The mood-boosting moves: Do a mini-workout that will get your blood flowing quickly and give you an exercise afterglow for hours after you're finished. A good example is running for 30 minutes or doing interval training to fit in both cardio and strength-training moves.

An added bonus: You'll torch calories. A 135-pound woman who runs for 30 minutes (at the pace of an 8-minute mile) will burn over 400 calories, and interval training gives your metabolism a boost because it challenges your heart and muscles to work harder than a low intensity workout.

Workouts for When you're zen

The mood: You're so relaxed you can't imagine sweating it.

The mood-boosting moves: Enjoy activities that chill you out but mildly increase your heart rate, like tai chi or swimming.

An added bonus: These relaxing workouts will focus your mind and bolster your stress-fighting powers, so if something bad does happen, you'll be able to handle it easier.

More ways to boost your mood and stay fit

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