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Bored, Depressed, Angry or Tired?
Workouts for Every Mood

Bored, Depressed, Angry or Tired?

The way you feel when you workout, your mood, can have a tremendous impact on how effective your workout is. To get the most out of your next exercise session, take a brief emotional inventory before you start. Then adjust the type of workout you've got planned based on how you feel.

Anger Anger is an emotion that seems custom made for aggressive activities like boxing. In fact, it may only make you madder. Instead, you should do things that require more intense concentration like racquetball, tennis or a new aerobics class. You need a distraction that requires you to think about something other than what upset you. Use a complicated workout to take your mind off the problem issue, calm you down and help the feelings dissipate. When you're finished you can look at what caused your anger more rationally and objectively. Punching your way to a solution rarely ever works.

Stress Stress happens when you're dealing with mental, physical or emotional tensions and strain. Repetitive and mindless activities are good ways to relieve that stress. Swimming, riding a stationary bike, running or walking on a treadmill can all help you relax. You might also consider activities that require controlled breathing. Some forms of yoga and pilates can help reduce anxiety while also lowering your heart rate. Embrace the calm along with the knowledge you're working to improve your body.

Boredom Boredom can be beaten by getting out and doing things with other people. Look for a group that meets regularly for physical activity. Join a running club, play on a soccer team, get some friends together for golf or pick up tennis. If you want to combine exercise with social responsibility, sign up for a cause like Team in Training. They'll teach you how to run in half and full marathons while raising money for leukemia and lymphoma patients.

Depression Depression can sideline a workout because you just don't know why you should bother. There are times when everyone gets sad, but if it's chronic, you need to take action to break the cycle. Pick up the phone and arrange to meet a friend for your workout. Schedule a session with a personal trainer or commit to some type of exercise class. Then pay for the classes or sessions in advance. That'll give you a couple of motivations to get out of the house. Your friend, trainer or class will be waiting and you've already spent the money. Over the course of 16 weeks, Duke University researchers have shown that exercise can be as effective as taking medication in relieving depression symptoms.

Fatigue Fatigue may be a sign you're working out too much. If you haven't taken a break from exercise in more than 10 days, consider it a sign you need your rest. However, if you're new to exercising, you might be tired because you haven't exercised enough. To see if you should workout, take this simple test. Start your workout with the knowledge you're going to evaluate your condition after 10 minutes. If you still feel tired after 10 minutes, fine. Go home and get some sleep. But if you start to wake-up, keep pushing forward and finish your workout. Waking up after 10 minutes means you probably weren't tired; it's more likely you were bored and just needed motivation to get in the gym.

Happiness Happiness is a wonderful feeling, but it can cause you to bail on a regular routine because you don't want your workout to bring you down. Instead, plan on using your enthusiasm to push yourself to new heights. Try to swim a few more laps, speed up your bike ride, increase your running mileage or lift a little more than before. Use that energy to push yourself to new and greater achievements.

Adjusting your workouts to better match your moods can help you stay motivated and on track with your fitness plans. Don't use them as an excuse, use them to move forward and build a better body.

If you want to track your mood and see if it's improving or not, we've prepared this chart to help you out.

It's simple. Use one sheet per month. Find the date, write the day of the week beside it, then what exercise you did and how long it took. Mark underneath the happy/sad faces what your mood was in the morning (M) and evening (E).

Over time you may see patterns emerge. Notice the days you're feeling better and see what steps you're taking to feel that way.

Mood and Exercise Chart
Mood and Exercise Chart
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Updated 12/17/2011