12 Workouts To Improve Your Mood

By nature, as humans we’re moody creatures. And, as much as we’d love to feel good and be happy and excited, it’s not always the case. Sometimes we’re anxious, distracted, sad, angry, exhausted, anxious, or stressed out. We consulted some fitness experts to find workouts that are best-suited for whatever mood you might be in today.

Angry? Try Kickboxing, Channel that red-hot anger into one fierce, calorie-torching workout with some kickboxing! “When you're mad or upset, a fabulous way to get it out is kickboxing,” says Jennipher Walters, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of the FitBottomedGirls.com. “Take all that aggression and anger and give it straight to the punching bag -- it's a truly healthy way to express it!” she adds. Contact kickboxing is best done under the supervision of a certified trainer or instructor, so look for a class or small group training session at a nearby gym. Or, try a DVD at home that’s non-contact but that will have you doing plenty of punching and kicking.

Rushed? Try H.I.I.T. , “If you are feeling pressed for time, try H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) to get your workout done in less time and blow off steam,” recommends Chris Freytag, a certified national fitness expert and American Council on Exercise board member. After a warm up, try alternating 3 minutes of steady state effort (of about a 5 or 6 effort on a 1-10 intensity scale) with 1 minute of all-out work (at about an 8 or 9 effort) using your favorite mode of cardio. This technique can work with cycling, running, etc. Not only will you maximize every second of your limited workout time, you’ll be putting your hurried, rushed energy to good use during each interval.

Distracted or Confused? Try Strength Training, Got a tough decision weighing on your mind? Try a good resistance training session. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular strength training helped women improve their mental focus and attention. Strength training can help you feel grounded, says Stephanie Vitorino, a certified personal trainer and group exercise manager for EQUINOX fitness clubs. In addition to your brain focusing on the movement and lifting those weights, your emotions will also benefit from a sense of direction.

Anxious? Try Walking , Filled with nervous or anxious energy? Take a walk! “If you have a lot of nervous energy, a great way to deal with it is by, quite literally, walking it off,” says Walters. Walking for just a few minutes can calm your nerves and boost your mood, especially if you're outdoors. In fact, studies show that walking is a proven way to help lower stress levels, calm anxiety and even bolster your immune system.

Exhausted? Try Tai Chi, A low energy day isn’t the time to push yourself to the max during a workout. Instead, try turning your focus inwards and invigorate your body with a Tai Chi session. Not only can Tai Chi help replenish your energy, but research shows it can also help improve your sleep quality, lower stress levels and enhance your sense of well-being, all of which may help you prevent the source of your exhaustion in the future.

Lonely? Try a Barre Class, Up for some company during your workout? Hit the (other) barre for a healthier happy hour! If you are feeling social and want to spend time with friends, a group fitness class is a great option, says Freytag. There’s a real sense of camaraderie and fun in this type of group setting, she says. Sweating side-by-side and commiserating together as you all “feel the burn” could help you get more out of your workout. Catch up after class at the juice bar or head out for a healthy dinner together – studies show that having social support may make you more likely to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Stressed? Try Cycling, Hop on a bike. and pedal away your cares (indoors or out) to relieve stress, raise endorphins and give yourself time to think clearly so that you can handle stressful situations with more clarity, says Vitorino. Whether you take your bike outside and hit the trails for some fresh air or lose yourself in the driving music of an indoor cycling class, you are guaranteed to feel better once you are done. Not to mention, tackling that challenging hill or sprint on the bike can also help you feel more confident and better able to handle the pressure you may be feeling. When you are completely in the moment and holding a pace that feels strong and powerful, you are no longer thinking of anything else but getting to the end of the road or the top of the hill, Vitorino says.

Feeling Stuck? Try Running, Have you been trying to solve a problem or come up with a great idea for hours? Stop what you’re doing, and head out for a run, recommends Walters. “If you can't seem to find the right solution to a problem or your creativity has gone out the window, go for a jog,” she says. “Seriously, I can't count the number of good ideas I've had while being out for a run!,” Walters says. The repetitive nature of a running stride allows your brain to relax (since there are no complex steps to follow or movement patterns to master), while your body enjoys the uplifting rush of exercise-induced endorphins.

Worried? Try Yoga, Feeling apprehensive? “Om” away your worries. “Yoga is a great mind-body exercise that brings you into the present moment,” says Walters. Yoga helps quiet and calm your mind while engaging your body, making it hard to stay worried long during a practice. Through movement timed to breath, you naturally focus on the now, and let the worries of what-may-be just melt away.” If you don’t have a yoga studio nearby, there are plenty of DVDs and books to choose from.

Motivated? Try Stair Climbing, Let your inspiration create some perspiration by tackling the stairs! Climbing stairs not only kicks your butt, says Freytag, but it offers a great endurance challenge and burns off plenty of calories too. Head to the stepmill at the gym or take on a few flights of stairs indoors or out – there’s nothing like looking at the number of flights you’ve scaled to make you feel extra accomplished at the end of your workout!

Sad? Try Dancing, Upbeat music and the endorphins of exercise have both been shown to help combat feelings of depression and sadness, so next time you are feeling blue, turn up the radio and get moving! “When you're sad you may not feel like dancing, but that's exactly why you should do it,” says Walters. Don’t feel pressured to head to a dance class – dancing solo may be best for when you are down. No need to worry about what you look like or what steps to follow -- just allow yourself to let loose and enjoy the movement and the music. “It's kind of hard to feel sad when you have dance music playing,” says Walters.

Energetic? Try Zumba, If you’ve got energy to spare today, put it to good use with Zumba, recommends Freytag, This dance class is filled with infectious beats that are sure to put your extra energy to work and keep it going even after the workout is over! Pop into a class near you, or play Zumba Fitness on your Wii for a super-fun, high-energy sweat session.