You only have to walk for *this* very short amount of time to feel the mental benefits

Hate running? You only have to walk for 15 minutes to get the mental benefit of exercise, a new study by Asics confirms. 

If the thought of surviving an hour’s cardio class or running a 5K makes you break into a sweat, then you’re in luck: new research has confirmed that the amount of time it takes to reap the mental benefits of exercise is tiny.

When thinking about going for a walk/run/class/gym session, you probably try to carve out around an hour. You’ve got to warm up, get into the main activity, take a couple of breaks, cool down and get home – all of which takes time. And for many, the thought of exercising for an hour is enough to put the trainers back in the box and sit back down. We’re time-poor, energy-sapped and quite often, lacking in motivation.

But a new study by Asics has found that the amount of time you need to exercise in order to reap the very real mental benefits is incredibly short. All it takes is just 15 minutes and 9 seconds of exercise to uplift your mood.

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The research, called the Asics State of Mind Index, got 37,000 people of all ages from across the globe to score their mental wellbeing on traits like positivity, contentment and focus. It found that not only was 15:09 the shortest amount of time needed to experience a boost, but that Gen Z-ers were both the group most in need of a mental uplift and the least likely to exercise.

With that in mind, Asics then commissioned a second study on Brits aged 18-24 to find out what was stopping them from moving more, and the answer came back loud and clear: lack of time. The biggest drain on their spare time? Chores, studying/work and social media.

What does 15:09 minutes of exercise look like?

While it might be tricky to persuade someone to bunk off work to do a run or get someone off TikTok to get to the gym, the vast majority of people would admit to having 15 minutes in the day to work up a sweat. 

That could simply mean briskly walking to the station rather than taking a bus, or doing a 15 minute circuit in your underwear when you get home from work as the oven’s heating up. You might want to set your Spotify playlist to a four track playlist for a kitchen disco, or simply head out for a 15:09 jog – knowing that you don’t have to run towards a distance.

Exercise and wellbeing – increasing evidence

This is just the latest study to confirm how potent exercise can be on mood. Strong Women participated in a study earlier this year that found that not exercising for a few days had the same mental effect as seven nights of insomnia.

And it’s also worth saying that 15 minutes a day is enough to see physical benefits too. A 2016 study published in Plos One found that a 10-minute interval workout had the same benefits as a 45-minute jog. It’s worth pointing out that they were looking at a sprint interval workout, rather than a slow and steady cardio situation.

Another study by the European Society of Cardiology found that people who took a brisk 15-minute walk were 22% less likely to die than those who don’t exercise at all, while a paper published in the journal Neuropsycholiga found that just 10 minutes of exercise was enough to boost brainpower. 

So, if you’re not feeling up to doing much, get out for that 15:09 walk – the benefits are too good to miss out on.

Images: Getty

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