Run Researchers at the University of Vermont found that aerobic training of “moderate intensity,” with an average heart rate of around 112 beats a minute–elevated, sure, but it’s not like they were hammering away–improved participants’ mood for up to twelve hours after exercise.

“Moderate intensity aerobic exercise improves mood immediately and those improvements can last up to 12 hours,” says Dr. Jeremy Sibold. “This goes a long way to show that even moderate aerobic exercise has the potential to mitigate the daily stress that results in your mood being disturbed.”

And you’ll also feel smarter; exercise creates new brain cells and makes those new cells more effective. As Gretchen Reynolds says, “Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.”

So there you go: Work out first thing. Feel better. Be smarter. Sure, you could work out after work, but then the happy feelings and extra brainpower will be wasted while you’re asleep.

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