We all know that taking part in physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins- the chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators- which in turn leads to a more balanced lifestyle. We also know that physical activity can improve cognitive performance, self-esteem and reduce anxiety- so we should really try and do more of it.

After lockdown, we have probably all felt a bit uncertain and less confident, but clever tech-heads at Asics have been working behind the scenes to track the world’s first study of the impact of sport on the mind. To coincide with Global Running Day, ASICS launched a service for users to measure how exercise elevates mood. While most people start exercising for the physical benefits, Asics have set out to prove that it also reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and by self- analysis we can record this progress in person.

Even twenty minutes of steady exercise per day can deliver a real psychological boost, and building up gradually, you can accomplish anything. Asics has been supporting research into this area over the past six months, trialing with 42 elite and everyday athletes. The results demonstrate how uplifted and confident everyday athletes felt after exercise- recording an improvement of up to 29% in their ability to deal with stress and an increase of up to 18% in relaxation levels. There was also a drop of up to 135% in their frustration levels where they became less prone to making rash decisions.

This study has enabled Asics to introduce The Mind Uplifter™ to their website; the first tool of its kind accessible to the general public to see the impact of movement on their subconscious, it is designed for everyone to check in and track the emotional and cognitive changes that occur before and after exercise.

The simple process consists of a combination of facial scanning technology via EEG and self-reported data, which captures the impact of sport across ten emotional and cognitive metrics – including confidence, positivity, calm and focus and measures how different sports impact how we think and feel.

The results are already showing exercise can improve mood and decrease the chance of depression and anxiety. Whether you get inspired by Yoga, Pilates, table tennis, baseball, boxing, walking or golf, seemingly the benefits of getting sweaty for just twenty minutes are worth their weight in goal- my own personal uplift was 52%!

It would be naive to think that we can reverse all our symptoms of depression or other mental health issues with just one exercise session, but hopefully your mood results will spur you on. Asics are hoping that one million participants will get involved and share their uplift by the end of the year. This will then be turned into an interactive map used to quantify the positive impact that sport is having on the collective mood of cities, nations and the world.

Through the live study, ASICS will deepen its understanding of the relationship between movement and the mind on a global scale, underpinning its belief that sport has the power to uplift minds all over the world.

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