Professor Catherine Loveday, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was invited to discuss whether physical exercise can improve our mood in a recent All in the Mind podcast.

Professor Loveday explained how the sense of control over a problem and working as part of a team can help people overcome mental health issues: “We know that when people identify as part of a group and work together in a team to make some change, they start to feel a sense of belonging. They can work in a much more meaningful way when they are part of a group. We know that social identity is a hugely important part of health generally.”

Speaking about recent research assessing whether physical exercise can have an impact on our mood, she explained: “It has been found that if you exercise more than 30 minutes, it does not seem to have any additional benefits for your mood.

“Running has actually quite mixed effects on some people’s mood. For some people, it really works and for others it might not. But the things that consistently seem to help people are weight and resistance trainings. There are different theories as to where that might be, some of that is about distraction but there might also be a slightly meditative hypnotic type of approach as well because you might often have to count the number repetitions you have done and so on. That had a more consistent impact on mood than running for example. People also get a sense of efficacy, a sense of having completed something and getting a bit better each time.”

Listen to the full interview from 09:06 on BBC iPlayer.

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