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'Commit to what makes you feel good' - how exercise can boost your mood

Even a small amount of exercise will boost your mood in these uncertain times, the experts tell Suzanne Harrington

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Fitness guru: Siobhan Byrne

Fitness guru: Siobhan Byrne

Fitness guru: Siobhan Byrne

Perhaps even more important is the impact of exercise on our mental health, and how it has the power to transform mood from listless and lethargic to relaxed and focused. "The positive impact of exercise is long established," says clinical health psychologist Dr Vincent McDarby, a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland. "It works on stress, anxiety and depression. It helps us relax, and improves self-confidence immediately, because the moment we start exercising, we view ourselves as healthier."

It needn't be anything madly strenuous. "Adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times a week," says Tara Curran of the Irish Heart Foundation. "This should be all year round, not just in lockdown. Regular moderate exercise helps the heart, plus lung capacity, muscle strength, balance, weight management, and mental health, by reducing stress and anxiety." For under 18s, it's 60 minutes, and moderate intensity can be a brisk walk - anything that warms us up and makes our heart beat a bit faster.


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