One Week of Physical Inactivity Impacts Mental State, Per Study

Not exercising for a week has the same negative impact on a person’s state of mind as seven nights of broken sleep, according to a study by ASICS.

However, just 15 minutes and 9 seconds of physical activity can trigger a positive change in mental state, the study found.

The ASICS Uplifting Minds Study involved thousands of participants from all over the world.

Professor Brendon Stubbs, a movement and mind researcher, monitored the State of Mind scores of healthy participants who agreed to take a break from their regular exercise routines for just one week. The results were significant, impacting both cognitive and emotional well-being. 

When active people stopped moving, their confidence dropped by 20 percent, their optimism dropped by 16 percent, energy levels dropped by 23 percent, and the ability to deal with stress showed a reduction of 22 percent.

In fact, after just one week without exercise, the participants' overall mood score dropped by an average of 18 percent, going from 68 out of 100 in the period of physical activity to a mediocre score of 55 out of 100 during the exercise break. 

The effects of this inactivity are captured in the Mind Race experiment film, which followed a group of study participants.

But there is good news. Participants were monitored when they returned to their regular exercise regimen and all showed immediate improvements in their mood, which shows how quickly the negative effects of inactivity can be reversed. 

Stubbs also analyzed data from thousands of people who have participated in the ASICS Uplifting Minds study since June 2021. The study uses technology to capture the impact of exercise on people's mood. Based on data from various sports and regions, just 15.09 minutes of exercise can significantly affect our mental state.

“We know that exercise is good for our mental health, but the impact of resting and resuming exercise is less clear,” Stubbs said. “Now, thanks to new technology and the input of thousands of people, we are able to identify how much exercise is needed to trigger a positive mental impact. The ASICS study helps quantify the amount of exercise needed to improve mental health and makes that amount more tangible. Taking time to rest is very important. The study demonstrates that people's well-being recovers very quickly when people return to regular exercise after a period of rest."