Today, the impact of physical inactivity on our mental state has been revealed for the first time in the Mind Race – an ASICS experiment in which regular exercisers paused their normal fitness routines for one week. The impact on their state of mind was found to be similar to a week of broken sleep, with participants reporting a 23% increase in racing thoughts.

Reassuringly, the results of ASICS’ Uplifting Minds Study, involving thousands of participants from across the globe, proves it can take just 15:09 minutes of physical activity to lift our mental state – even after periods of inactivity.

The Mind Race: just one week of inactivity significantly lowers our state of mind
Professor Brendon Stubbs, a leading researcher in movement and the mind, monitored the State of Mind scores of healthy participants who agreed to pause their regular exercise routines for just one week. The results are significant with both their cognitive and emotional wellbeing being impacted. When active people stopped moving, their confidence dropped by 20%; positivity fell by 16%, energy levels slumped by 23% and their ability to cope with stress reduced by 22%.

In fact, after just one week of no exercise, participants’ overall State of Mind score dropped by an average of 18% – decreasing from a high 68 out of 100 when physically active to a mediocre 55 out of 100 when they stopped exercising. The effects of this inactivity are captured in the Mind Race experiment film asics.com/mindrace, following a group of study participants.

Just 15 minutes of activity can uplift our state of mind
But there is good news. Participants were monitored when they returned to their regular exercise regime and all experienced immediate improvements in their state of mind – showing how quickly the negative effects of inactivity can be reversed. Professor Brendon Stubbs also analysed data from thousands of people who participated in ASICS’ ongoing Uplifting Minds Study since June 2021. The Study uses cutting edge technology to mimic EEG and capture the impact of exercise on people’s state of mind. Based on data from across sports and across regions, just 15.09 minutes of exercise can significantly impact our mental state.

Commenting on the results, Professor Brendon Stubbs said: “We know that exercise is good for our mental health but the impact of rest and restarting exercise is less clear. Now, thanks to new technology and the contribution of thousands of people, we’ve been able to pinpoint just how much exercise is needed to trigger a positive mental impact. This ASICS study helps to quantify the amount of exercise to improve mental health and make it more tangible. Taking time to rest is very important. This study shows that people’s wellbeing bounces back very quickly after a period of rest when people resume regular exercise again.”

Katie Piper, TV Presenter and study participant stated: “Exercise has always been an important part of my daily routine. Pausing this, even just for one week, was really tough! I wasn’t expecting it to be so difficult – not having the option to blow off steam during a run or have that all important “me time” was really hard and I felt so lethargic during my week off. It’s fantastic that ASICS is so committed to driving this kind of research forward; it was too good an opportunity to miss and I hope it encourages everyone to get moving!”

Iwan Thomas, Olympic runner and study participant said: “I’m a huge advocate for mental health awareness and my own battles are well documented. Throughout my life, running has been a vital tool in keeping me healthy in mind as well as body. As a new father I’ve found using exercise as an outlet for relieving stress more important than ever. I wanted to partner with ASICS for this study to see how I would manage without exercise and it was a lot more challenging than I expected! I felt anxious, tired and much less positive than usual. Fundamentally though, to be part of something that carries such an important message and hopefully encourages other people to share my passion for running, has been hugely fulfilling.”

Gary Raucher, EVP, ASICS EMEA said: “Our founding philosophy is literally in our name, Anima Sana In Corpore Sano or a Sound Mind in a Sound Body. And we believe our focus on the benefits of sport and movement, not just on the body, but also on the mind, has never been more relevant. We know the last two years have been tough on the mental state of many. And while not the answer for everyone, we know exercise can make a difference. We hope to inspire more people to move with ASICS, even for just 15.09 minutes to feel the benefits on body and mind.”

To be part of ASICS’ ongoing Uplifting Minds Study and see the impact of exercise on your own State of Mind, visit https://minduplifter.asics.com/