Other aspects of physical activities that reduce stress include:
- Frequency. Since benefits from exercise are usually short term, one must exercise regularly.
- Intensity. Keep it moderate.
- Duration. At least 20 to 30 minutes.
- The activity should be enjoyable since one is not likely to exercise if it is distasteful, and doing something you do not enjoy is not relaxing.
The study found no long-term effects on mood but found that both low and high intensity exercise improved short-term mood. Swimming showed little effect on mood, but the authors noted that swimmers were in a good mood before their exercise period began, thus masking any mood improvements.
Body conditioning exercise served to increase feelings of fatigue, with no other mood effects. The authors speculate that this may have been due to the stress being intense. The running used was interval training, a series of short, fast runs at 90% of maximal heart rate, rather than a long, slow runs. Long, slow running has been shown to provide stress relief. Weight lifting has also been shown to enhance self-concept and lower stress.