Overindulge? Ten minutes of gentle jogging will lift your mood and thinking

If this is not your couch, your home or your dog, you've probably partied too hard.

If this is not your couch, your home or your dog, you've probably partied too hard. Photo: Getty

Having fun, Australia? Trying out a range of exotic cocktails in lieu of travelling abroad? Good onya! There’s an old year to bury and drink a toast to – and a new year to welcome with an upraised glass.

Which is cool.

But with all that drinking comes the morning after – and maybe you’re not feeling too good about yourself today. The booze that lifted your mood has now sent it crashing.

The morning after, unless you’re stumbling around and looking to make friends with a bucket, then you should wait until you’re more or less sober before moving around.

So what can you do?

Plenty of deep breathing (stick at it) and sip plenty of water. And by sipping, imagine you’ve put yourself on a drip.

If you just feel heavy, foggy, cranky and sore in the head, then get moving, but gently. Just walk around. Deep breathing, sip the water but also stretch your body. Keep moving.

You won’t metabolise the alcohol that loiters in your systems. But you’ll increase the blood flow, loosen up the muscles and get those “feel good” chemicals activated.

Have something simple to eat. And go for another gentle walk.

By the late afternoon, or perhaps the following morning (the day after the day after the night of shame), go for a ten minute run. Moderate pace. No running like hell. No feeling the burn. Just a good trot for ten minutes.

Still not feeling great? Try this

Finally, you might start to feel like your old self. What some people insist on calling “their best selves”. Whatever.

The point is this: Researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that as little as ten minutes of moderate-intensity exercise appears to benefit mood, thinking and overall mental health.

In study participants, after ten minutes of minimal-effort running, there was an increase of local blood flow to the bilateral prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that controls mood and executive functions.

With the inflow of blood, the activity in this part of the brain was seen to increase via scanning.

Participants in the study reported better mood, and they performed better on a cognitive exercise known as the Stroop Colour-Word Test.

In part, too, because running calls upon balance and coordination as well as burning energy, the body is brought on to a kind of higher functioning and alert. All of which is useful to people who might be feeling a little shabby.

To read more about the Stroop Colour-Word test, go here. But maybe tomorrow.

Baby steps, friends, baby steps.

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