You may have heard the theory that if you are sad, exercise will make you happy. But if exercise is supposed to make you happy, why isn’t everyone in the gym every day to get their daily dose of happy? In fact, most people dread going to the gym, choosing instead to lay on the couch and veg out. So what’s the deal, does exercise really make you happier? The short answer: Yes.
6 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Happy
1. Exercise releases a chemical called endorphins.
Ever heard of runners high? The scientific explanation for that is endorphins being released in the body and triggering positive feelings similar to the effect of morphine. These endorphins also interact with your brain to reduce your perception of pain, which might explain why many runners can run marathons.
2. Improved immune system
Exercise is not only good for the brain, it’s also great for the body. Exercise can help flush out bacteria from the lungs and increase the lymphatic system. It also increases the number of antibodies and white blood cells running through the body, which detect and attack the causes of illness. We don’t know about the rest of you, but we feel better when we aren’t stuck in bed feeling sick all day.
3. Exercise reduces stress
Exercise is a known stress blocker, which is great for both body and mind. Too much stress can cause the body great harm, including medical conditions such as heart disease, nausea, indigestion, migraines, bladder infections, anxiety, colds and sinus infections, hyperventilation and much more. Exercise reduces the stress hormones that can be so harmful in excess, and it only takes five minutes of exercise to start feeling reduced levels of stress. Types of exercise that reduce stress include walking, yoga, swimming, and stretching.
4. Exercise increases your mental resilience
When times get tough, as they inevitably do, having a tougher mental resilience can help you keep it together when it counts. When you exercise in a way that physically pushes you, you will get tougher mentally too. This mental toughness will translate across all aspects of life. The more you prove to yourself that you can accomplish your exercise goals, the more you show to the world that you can handle anything it throws at you.
5. Exercise Increases energy during the day and improves sleep at night
When you get enough regular sleep, your brain/body can do some pretty amazing things. Sleep improves memory, concentration, strengthens the immune system and improves mood. To get enough sleep for all this good stuff, you should be sleeping at least 6-8 hours a night. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep exercise can help you obtain this goal. Exercise can not only help you sleep better at night, but it can also give you the energy you need to tackle the day. Many will claim that their most productive time of day is right after they’ve exercised. If you are new to working out, the first week might make you feel more tired but stick with it and you will start feeling better and more energized.
6. Exercise reduces depression and anxiety
Exercise is a well-known and yet highly underused form of treatment for depression. Research has shown time and time again that exercise is an effective form of treatment for mild to moderate depression. Other research suggests that physically active people also tend to be less depressed than inactive people. So, it’s not only important in treating depression, but also preventing it.
Types of Exercise that Reduces Depression
- Yard work
- Low-impact aerobics
So there you have it. Exercise is not only good for our bodies, but it is also good for our brains and emotions. Although starting the habit may be difficult at first, it will pay off in the long run. The feeling of dread will be replaced by joy as exercise starts becoming a habit. Why? People who exercise are not only happier and healthier but also more confident in their ability to take on the challenges of their world. To learn more about what the research shows when it comes to depression and anxiety, follow Watch Media Mental Health.
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