Exercise duration and mood state: how much is enough to feel better?

Health Psychol. 2001 Jul;20(4):267-75. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.20.4.267.


The effects of exercise duration on mood state were examined. In a repeated-measures design, the Profile of Mood States inventory (D. M. McNair, M. Lorr, & L. F. Droppleman, 1971) was administered before and after 1 quiet resting trial and 3 exercise trials of 10, 20, and 30 min on a bicycle ergometer. Heart rate levels were controlled at 60% of the participant's estimated VO2max level. An overall analysis of variance found improved levels of vigor with reduced levels of confusion, fatigue, and total negative mood. Planned analyses revealed that the improvements in vigor, fatigue, and total mood occurred after 10 min of exercise, with progressive improvements in confusion over 20 min and with no additional improvement over longer periods. These results complement current recommendations, which suggest that to experience positive fitness and health benefits, healthy adults should participate in a total of 30 min of moderate physical exercise daily, accumulated in short bouts throughout the day.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors