Mood Match Your Workout

pic: Lorna Jane

Whether you’re happy, sad, pumped up or frazzled, there’s a perfect workout for your frame of mind

Let’s face it, leaping about to loud music first thing in the morning is the last thing you want to do after waking up tired. And when you’re bright eyed and raring to go, doing a tree pose to an ‘om’ chant can be, strangely enough, a little frustrating. When it comes to exercise, the trick is to recognise your mood and choose your workout accordingly.

“It’s essential that you do exercise you want to do,” says Dr Mark Anshel, from the US Association for Applied Sport Psychology. “If you don’t, the result is poor performance, negative feelings about working out and, eventually, quitting doing any exercise at all.”

So, read on to find out how to maximise your workout, whatever mood you’re in…

You have 167 unanswered emails, your heel snapped off your shoe and you have a big presentation in the afternoon. Argh! If you’re having the day from hell, the thought of exercising can really add to your stress.  Dr Jennifer Hurst, a professor in exercise science, suggests that if you’re feeling time pressure, engage in smaller bouts of exercise. “Just five minutes of walking can provide a fresh focus,” she says. “Do this a few times throughout the day.” 

Match it: 
If you have time for a full workout, WF yoga expert Charlotte Dodson says that while the yoga has been long hailed for its stress-relieving benefits, there are specific poses allocated to different stress types. “If you’re feeling closed off from others, then a backbend pose, which opens up your entire body, will help you feel and be more approachable. Anxious? Try doing a handstand: it’s a difficult move that’ll help give you confidence and strength to confront difficult or worrying times.”

It’s simply one of those great mornings – you’re up early, alert without needing a coffee injection, and you made the bus with plenty of time to spare (even scoring a seat – yay!). The pep in your step is the perfect time to take advantage of high-energy exercise, so let’s get physical. 

Match it:
 It’s time to sweat it out with a cardio workout. “Roll with the bouncy punches and jump into a high-energy aerobics class, such as BodyAttack,” suggests WF PT Libby Babet. If classes aren’t your thing, go for an early morning run and crank up your ‘move it’ playlist. “You can also go the other way and re-centre your mood with a Pilates mat class to focus your energy.”

When you’re blue, the last thing you want to do is strap on a sports bra. But fight the lure of laziness and your body will produce feel-good endorphins that’ll soon turn your frown upside down. Research has found that regular exercise can reduce depression by up to 47 per cent over 12 weeks. 

Match it:
 Hurst advises that an aerobic workout will be more effective than weights and resistance training. “Lifting and resistance activities raise your blood pressure, which can compound anxiety,” she says. Going for a jog can also boost spirits, as the steady rhythm and time to think can really put life’s pressures into positive perspective.


From the bad driver who nearly side-swiped you in their car this morning, to finding out someone’s taken your food from the office fridge, sometimes getting angry is inevitable. But, if you use it to your benefit, the adrenalin can give you one helluva workout.  

Match it: Try hitting something – safely, of course! “Ever tried MMAXFIT? Now might be the time to give it a shot,” says Libby. “Think a combo of boxing, kickboxing, ground attacks and plyometric training, all set to loud music to get you moving.” If that’s a bit too intense, take a boxercise or kickboxing class and beat the you-know-what out of a punching bag. You’ll relieve pent-up rage and release endorphins, which will make you feel happier. 


Birds are chirping, the sun is shining and you’ve just been promoted. Your arm might be tired from high-fiving yourself, but what to do with the rest of your body?

Match it:

 When you’re feeling chipper, it’s a good time to do something fun and sociable, such as Zumba – which involves both dance and aerobic elements. “There’s nothing like a good cardio workout to really pump up the endorphins and get you gliding – even better if you do it in the great outdoors! Take the time to really soak up your surrounds,” says Libby.  

Thirty minutes on the treadmill, followed by 20 reps with the dumbbells… yawn. If your tried-and-tested routine is getting tired, you’ll lose motivation, so shake things up and try something original. Sports psychologist Bill Cole says the biggest mistake people make is to be overly rigid with their sessions, thinking that discipline and uniformity give the best results. “The smartest athletes train by using variety so that boredom can’t creep in,” he says.

Match it:

Try dancing your way to a fun workout. “Pick something you haven’t tried before, such as hip-hop or samba,” says Libby. If rhythm is not your friend, she suggests functional fitness, which will have you learning new moves to challenge your coordination and beat the boredom.




Instagram: @Spaitgirl
source: womens fitness