Everyone should make sure they get moving during the day -- but no one needs to turn into a treadmill-racing workout fiend to get the benefits of exercise.
In fact, too much exercise can be as bad for you as too little -- bad for you knees, bad for your heart and maybe even bad for your mood.
One new study finds that women who exercise moderately -- in other words, get the steady regular movements they need without overdoing it -- are actually much happier than women who exhaust themselves during intensive gym sessions.
Turkish researchers randomly assigned 255 women between the ages of 40 and 60 years old to one of two two-week workout regimens: Either 30 minutes a day on a treadmill at a moderate pace, or a run-till-you-drop session where they were told to go as fast as they could on that treadmill for as long as they could take it.
Sound like fun? Of course it doesn't -- and the results speak for themselves: The moderate exercisers had a better mood, lower levels of anxiety, higher levels of psychological wellbeing and more energy than those assigned to the torture-like workout sessions.
Women who got the intense workouts, on the other hand, were less likely to report the confidence to keep going with their exercise program. Overweight women in particular were stressed out by the more vigorous workouts and reported lower levels of calmness afterwards.
Whether you're a man or a woman -- and whether you're badly overweight or slim and trim -- you don't have to drive yourself to the brink of physical exhaustion to get the benefits of a light workout.
Just pick something you like -- and like the women in this study, you can enjoy some mood-boosting benefits along with your great fitness: At least one study has shown that a little sweat-inducing activity can be as powerful as antidepressant drugs… with none of the side effects.
Good examples of moderate workouts include traditional ones like tennis or a brisk walk/jog through the park, to a few things you might not think of as "exercise" -- like gardening or even some home improvement projects.
In fact, keeping fit can actually be -- dare I say it? -- fun.