Improve Your Mood In Just 5 Minutes

Smiling Dog

It was a wet and rainy weekend here in the pacific northwest. Even having been living out here for six years at this point, the rainy season never gets any easier – particularly since it often extends from late October through June. During my more sedentary days when I first moved out here, a rainy long weekend would have been pretty depressing. But in recent years I have discovered the secret to accepting, and even feeling good about the weather. And, better still, it was just validated by science.

According to a new study published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, improving your mood and self-esteem may be as simple as spending a few minutes exercising outside. And in this case, I really do mean a few. The study from the University of Essex examined the effect of walking, running, and other forms of outdoor exercise on 1,250 people. The most interesting part of their research, especially for those of us with little time, is that they observed the most profound effect on mood within the first five minutes.

What does that mean for you and me? It means that, as hard as it might be to motivate to do, you should go outside and get some exercise. Walk around the block. Take a short jog. Throw the ball around, or chase a squirrel. I promise you’ll feel better for it. I know I do.

What about you? What good strategies have you found to motivate to get out in bad weather?

  5 Responses to Improve Your Mood In Just 5 Minutes
  1. Lindsey

    Love the blog, Tim! You motivated us to go outside “even for 5 minutes” yesterday.

    • Tim Woodbury

      Thanks, Lindsey!

      I know it can be tough to motivate this time of year. But getting out even just a little helps to remind you that you aren’t really trapped inside and can improve your outlook substantially.

  2. Tim

    Love the picture of the dog…but I can’t chase squirrels in the snow :-) I do agree that getting outside helps your disposition (that’s why I’m always grumpy)

    • Tim Woodbury

      Hi, Kevin!

      I disagree – there’s no better time to chase a squirrel than in the snow. It makes them that much easier to see! :P

  3. I love the squirrel reference Tim! It reminds me of running at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland here. There is a great 2 mile – bark dusted – track that forms the perimeter of the golf course; and squirrels are ALWAYS abundant. I have literally tripped over them before while running.

    You article points to such a truth. Getting outside in the fresh air every day is so important – especially in the Pacific NW where S.A.D. is so prevalent during the winter months. My motivation? I got a dog a couple years ago who requires a daily walk. She forces me to get out. We make a family thing of it. There is a 1.6 mile loop in our neighborhood that my wife, six-year-old daughter, and I take her on almost every day. I made a “loop” chart for my daughter. Every time we walk a loop she colors in a box. When we reach 100 loops we get a four-day weekend at the coast.

    Love the blog as always!!

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