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workouts to boost your mood

workouts to boost your mood

exercise is a terrific way to boost your mood and improve your wellbeing

It doesn’t matter how old you are. Anyone can enjoy the benefits of exercise. Not only does it have physical benefits, but exercise also relaxes your mind.  

Research has shown us that physical activity is linked to better mental health and lower risk of mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. It can also help us manage stress, improve sleep and connect with nature. 

Although it can be hard to find a workout routine that you can stick to, it’s good to identify a physical activity that will help you achieve good wellbeing among many other benefits. 

Common myths about exercise

exercise is only for athletes or people who want to lose weight

Exercise is for everyone! It’s not just about competition or losing weight; it’s about feeling good inside and out. 

you must spend hours in the gym to see any benefits

Even short bursts of activity can make a difference. Whether it’s going for a walk or playing a bit of sport with your friends, every bit of movement counts. 

exercising is boring 

Exercise can be whatever you make it! Whether it’s swimming, hiking, or playing your favourite sport, there’s something out there for everyone. 

How does exercise boost my mood?  

Exercise is a great way of improving your wellbeing. When you engage in physical activity, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural mood lifters. These endorphins promote feelings of happiness and relaxation, making you feel a lot better. 

Physical activity can help with so many things that improve your mood. If you’re ever feeling a little low, consider doing some exercise. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better you feel afterwards! 

Will exercise help me with my body image? 

Exercise can be good for how you see yourself and your body. When you exercise, you may start to appreciate your body for what it can do rather than just how it looks. Exercise can help you feel stronger, more capable and more confident in your own skin.  However, exercise may not always help with body image concerns and could be unhealthy, especially for people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), 

It’s very important to practice self-compassion, challenge negative thoughts and surround yourself with supportive people who appreciate you for who you are. If you’re struggling with body image concerns, consider reaching out to mental health professionals or organisations for guidance, such as Beat. 

What are some examples of exercise that I can do? 

There are many different activities that you can do, and not all of them must be demanding. Here are a few that you can consider:


Engaging in activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or using a treadmill can make you feel good! These exercises are not only fun but also keep your body and mind healthy and happy. Plus, going outside for your exercise can boost your mood even more! So, remember, exercise isn’t just about fun; it’s about feeling great too. 

Many of our services take part in walking groups to visit local places of interest and engage with their peers to feel the benefits of fresh air and the environment. 

Not sure where to start? There are many walking apps that can track your progress. If you’re looking to take up jogging, Couch to 5K can help you slowly build up your stamina.


Strength training not only enhances your physical strength but also uplifts your mood. When you engage in strength training, your brain triggers the release of endorphins, promoting an overall sense of wellbeing, regardless of whether you’re reaping physical benefits. Make sure to seek guidance from a trainer or experienced individual before starting strength training. As you gain experience, you can even practice indoors, enjoying it from the comfort of your home! 


Yoga is another excellent low-impact exercise that focuses on breathing, posture and meditation. Yoga has been known to improve your general wellbeing and make you feel less stressed. As you breathe in, more oxygen flows to your brain, which helps to calm your nerves down and boosts your overall mood. 

You can find online videos that steadily teach you how to do yoga from beginner tutorials to more advanced demonstrations. 

Tai Chi 

Tai Chi is a famous martial art exercise invented initially in China. It focuses on breathing and movement. Slow organised movements are beneficial to the nervous system. If done correctly over a long time, it will also help your wellbeing, improve your self-esteem and avoid unnecessary stress.  

Our Stafford Centre service in Edinburgh regularly does Tai Chi sessions for people receiving support with their mental health. 


Dancing isn’t just moving your body to the rhythm; it’s also a fantastic way to get your heart pumping and your mood soaring. Dancing offers a fun and exhilarating way to exercise. Plus, dancing with friends or family can make it even more enjoyable! So, put on your favourite tunes and let loose on the dance floor for a mood-boosting workout like no other. 

Tips for getting started 

Starting an exercise routine can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you get started and stay motivated: 

Set realistic goals: Start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you progress. Just remember to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them. It’s important to push yourself, but also to respect your limits and set boundaries that work for you. 

Schedule regular workouts: Treat exercise like any other important appointment and schedule it into your calendar. Consistency is key to seeing results and forming a habit. 

What works best for you: There is not one activity that is best for your mental health but it needs to work for you and your daily routine. Different activities work for different people but you will be able to engage with an activity better if it’s more comfortable and enjoyable for you. If it doesn’t work, there are always plenty of other options. 

Don’t compare yourself to others: Set your own goals and achievements by paying attention to your own progress. 

Start slowly: If you’re new to exercise or have been inactive for a while, start slowly to avoid injury. Listen to your body and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. 

Find a workout buddy: Exercising with a friend or family member can make workouts more enjoyable, make you feel less lonely while exercising and help keep you accountable. 

Reward yourself: Celebrate your progress and achievements along the way. Whether it’s treating yourself to a healthy snack or buying yourself a new workout outfit, find ways to reward yourself for sticking to your routine. 

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of regular exercise and improving your overall wellbeing. 


Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our own Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 801051, email us at or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.

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