Should you take a nap or go for a light 15-minute jog? Well it all depends on whether you want to improve your mood, be sharper mentally, and boost your energy. If, in fact, all of those things sound good to you, then research shows the light jog wins according to psychologists from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France.
Their findings shed light on the link between energy, mood, and cognition. The researchers studied 101 male and female graduate students who were randomly assigned to either run or relax with a group for 15 minutes.Those exercises were preceded and followed by cognitive tests and mood assessments.
“[T]he primary finding… was that aerobic exercise improved perceptual speed/visual attentional control through increases in self-reported feelings of vigor-energy,” their paper concludes. What the researchers didn’t expect to find, however, was that relaxing actually significantly decreased energy and mood. Although a nap always sounds good to me, now I may need to consider lacing up the sneakers!
*Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.