Exercise can make you feel happier
Exercise can boost your mood - it’s been shown by research that just 20 minutes of exercise can be enough to release endorphins - chemicals which can relieve pain, stress and leave you feeling more positive.
There are a few chemicals that your body releases during and after exercise, leaving you in a better frame of mind.
Myokines are released into your blood when your muscles are contracted, and when the substance reaches your brain it acts as an anti-depressant - making you more resilient to stress.
Exercise can also release endocannabinoids, which are chemicals that are mimicked by cannabis, known as “don’t worry, be happy” chemicals.
Serotonin levels in your body can be increased in four ways - more sunlight, exercise, massage and remembering happy times in your life. Serotonin is a hormone that is linked to happiness, satisfaction and optimism. So if you do your exercise outdoors in the sunlight, get a massage afterwards and think happy thoughts, you should feel the benefit. Some studies have shown that increasing serotonin levels naturally can be as effective as anti-depressants.
If by doing the exercise you feel less depressed, you’ll probably feel more able to cope with the day ahead. Your dopamine levels will be sufficient to keep you motivated, and increasing them naturally must be better than taking tablets.
Increasing your exercise levels will probably help to lose a bit of weight, which makes you feel and look better and could improve your self esteem, if this an issue. It can help you sleep better, which means you awake feeling refreshed and ready to seize the day and want to exercise more. Your blood pumps more when you exercise, carrying nutrients to various parts of your body, including your brain. If your brain is more oxygenated you will feel less anxious or depressed.
When your brain is getting a better supply of blood, it can form new brain cells which helps to improve brain performance, helping prevent dementia and memory loss.
Whilst any exercise is good for you, doing it outdoors increases the benefits, due to the brain being stimulated by the geometric shapes found in nature, such as in snowflakes, leaves and trees. These shapes can help regulate stress by as much as 60%.
The effect of regular exercise is that you become physically stronger, which can make you feel mentally stronger too, and more able to cope with life.
All this exercise will make you thirsty, so people who are active generally consume more water. Increased water intake can combat dehydration, sadness, confusion and irritation.
So if you’ve been putting off getting fitter or taking up some form of exercise, as you can see there are many benefits you will gain from it - so the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll feel better for it.
What are you waiting for?