August 11, 2017 / Published 2:00 AM EST / Alyssa Charles, Staff Writer

How to boost your mood with exercise, no matter how your feeling

By now, you probably already know that the benefits of exercise go beyond improving your physical fitness, and extend to improving your mental health. Working out releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which all help to lower stress and anxiety while sharpening your focus, memory, and attention. As if that weren't enough, exercise also improves your sleep and increases your energy, and even helps strengthen existing brain connections.

On the other hand, you also know how difficult it can be to actually get up and go to the gym, or go for a run. It's easy to motivate yourself to hit the gym when you're already feeling great, but sometimes we don't have the drive to force ourselves to crank out 10km, do a circuit, or push ourselves with a spin class.

And honestly, I get that. As much as I'm aware of how exercise helps me, I've definitely spent many evenings watching Netflix rather than being on my feet when I'm a bit down, or lounging in bed instead of fitting in a workout when I'm stressed.

So for all those times when you're not feeling your best, whether you're anxious, frustrated, restless or sad, there's an exercise that can help turn things around and get you back to feeling yourself again. Here's a handy guide with the ideal exercises to help you fit in a bit of movement every day, no matter how you're feeling.



Happy or positive Have some fun with your workout. Try balancing on one leg or on a stability ball while you lift free weights
Anxious or stressed Avoid weights, and instead focus on cardio or aerobic exercises to harness your energy
Angry or frustrated To blow off some steam, hit the weights or go for a run
Relaxed Feeling laidback? Embrace that calmness with yoga, tai chi, or mindful meditation
Distracted or restless When you’re feeling antsy, start with planks or wall sits to regain focus then move onto weights
Sad Take a step or aerobics class, where the communal feeling will help you start, then endorphins will take you from there

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