What is a Mood-based Workout and How Does it Work?

Mood-based workouts are the latest fitness trend and here’s what they involve

Mood-based workouts are on the rise in Western countries. The popularity of these workouts can be traced to people’s wish to find new ways to make home workouts interesting during the pandemic. During this time, people also became more aware of the importance of both physical and mental well-being. This is how mood workouts were devised to fit your mood. For instance, whatever your mood be—anxious, energetic, mindful or lethargic—there’s a workout to elevate your mood support your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. 

Should you do these mood-based workouts?

Simrun Chopra, Deep Health Coach and Founder of Nourish with Sim, says, “The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental well-being. This makes it imperative for us to indulge in workouts that elevate our mood and simultaneously help diffuse our tensions.”

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She further explains, “While mood-based workouts might work for recreational exercise, there are some things that need contemplation. A person shouldn’t try new things without prior experience or insight into the required movements, as they might end up hurting themselves. Just because you are in an adventurous mood doesn't mean you should try a handstand on your own. Especially if you aren't in the habit of working out regularly.” 

Similarly, this doesn't work for goal-based scenarios like fat loss and muscle gain for athletes, and for certain types of medical issues. These types of workouts need structured plans for progressive loading. People might not know what is right for them or their mood. “For example, if you feel you want to do HIIT daily, this doesn't mean that it is necessarily good for you. HIIT is usually limited to 3 times a week. More of it can cause increased risk of injury, minimal recovery, and negative impact on hormonal health, especially for women,” explains Simrun.

On the other hand, every individual reacts differently to the same workout based on their mood. Our mental and physical health are linked. Some people might find it easier to exercise and diffuse stress with a good workout, while it might leave another drained. Here, it is important to understand when to scale back.

Things to keep in mind while doing these workouts

Research shows us exercise improves mood. Here is how to use it to your advantage:

1. When you just don’t feel it – focus on progress over perfection. A walk around your neighborhood is better than nothing.

2. Reduce the intensity – if you just don’t feel right, focus on reducing the intensity of the workout or switching the workout of the day.

3. Make it a habit – create a regular schedule for at least 30 days. Commit to a time for your work out. 

4. Work with a professional if need be to ensure you get it done. Beat that bad mood and fuel the good. Once it becomes a habit, the rest falls in place.

How do mood-based workouts help? 

The positive aspect of mood-based exercises is that it helps you to engage your undivided attention in performing mindful movement during your fitness routine. “This acts as a catalyst for people to become more aware of what they are feeling, which makes them more sensitive to how their body and mind responds. Our movements can have a massive impact on our emotional and physical well-being,” says Simrun.