Get Fit & Feel Even Better
Does your job have you stressed out? Has your daily routine got you feeling down in the dumps? Tired of being tired throughout your day? Exercise! It’s amazing what exercise can do, not just for your body, but for your whole life. It’s not just about getting into a better mood. It’s about making life more joyful and finding happiness!
As we learned from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins can interact with the receptors in your brain and make you happy.
Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Exercise comes with numerous health benefits that can lead to a happier, healthy life. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing cardio, strength training, or improving your balance and flexibility. There are benefits to reap from all types of exercise that can make you happy.
The effects of physical activity have been studied extensively. Research reveals a beneficial connection between fitness and areas such as longevity, nutrition, emotions, and self-esteem, all of which influence your overall happiness in a variety of ways.
Check out the list we compiled here and discover how exercise benefits you beyond just physically and start working towards being happier today.
1. Boost Your Confidence
In addition to the confidence that you may build due to physical improvements you experience from exercise, one of the biggest payoffs of exercise is that, through focus and physical movement, you’re able to feel a strong sense of accomplishment. Whether you increase your reps or the amount of weight you are lifting or just add time to your daily walk, exercise can give you a sense of pride at having achieved a particular goal.
2. Improve Your Mood
Within five minutes of cardiovascular exercise, you can feel happier! Once you get moving, your brain releases serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine as well as possibly others. These make you feel good! So, even if you don’t feel like doing anything, just going for a walk can make you happier!
3. Decrease Your Stress
Any form of exercise, from aerobics to strength training to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Physical activity boosts feel-good endorphins and distracts the mind from daily stresses. It only takes five minutes to start feeling better and it doesn’t have to be intense exercise. In fact, low- to moderate-intensity exercise is better than high-intensity for stress reduction.
4. Reduce Potential Depression and/or Anxiety
It’s official. The American Psychiatric Association recommends exercise as a treatment option for depression or anxiety. It’s effective alone or when combined with standard treatments. And it works. Randomized trials offer solid evidence that aerobic (walking, running, biking) and resistance/ strength training benefit those with depression and anxiety. Doing an activity you enjoy that also gets you moving may take your mind off your worries and provide some much-needed relief. There are many possible reasons someone might have symptoms of depression. But what experts tend to agree on: self-care can go a long way toward reducing your risk. Remember though, it’s important to reach out to a medical professional to discuss additional treatments that might be needed when struggling with depression and anxiety!
5. Build Mental Resilience
Did you know that when you exercise in a way that pushes you physically, you get mentally tougher. When you are mentally tougher, you can handle more stress. For some people, the feeling of developing mental resilience is addictive. You reach your goal and start wondering what else you can do! People train to take themselves further and further in sports like running, martial arts, cycling, etc. It may have challenging your gym buddies on MyZone during Team Training or Studio Fitness classes. This mental toughness helps in other aspects of your life.
6. Increase Your Energy Levels
I must say, from personal experience, my most productive time comes AFTER I exercise. I get the most work done and feel good doing it. Treat your body like a savings account; pay yourself first! If you are new to exercise you might feel a little more tired for a week or so but then you start feeling better, and better! Stick with it! You will reap the rewards.
7. Sleep Better & Feel More Rested
When you sleep, your body temperature drops and this drop in temperature helps you sleep. When you exercise for 20-30 minutes, five to six hours before bedtime, your body temp will then drop lower than it would if you did not exercise. This makes for better sleep! If you’re struggling to get the Zs you need, get moving. Many people who are active often sleep better compared to those who move less during the day. The cool part: It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you did or how intense it was.
8. Life Just Starts To Feel Easier
If you could get through your day in a physically easier way, wouldn’t that be nice? If climbing the steps to your office, lugging groceries and children around, or gardening around the house were easier, wouldn’t you be happier? Exercise can do that for you! Increase strength, improve your cardiovascular fitness and life just feels easier!
Although this article is meant to focus on the benefits of working out as it relates to your happiness, it is worth noting that there are several speculations on how exercise improves your immunity and helps keep you physically healthy. Exercise can help by flushing out bacteria from the lungs and may also flush out carcinogens by increasing the activity of your lymphatic system, which drains waste from your body. When your blood is pumping, you are also increasing the rate at which antibodies and white blood cells run through the body. They detect and attack illness. Why wouldn’t you want more of that happening inside you?
When you exercise, the release of stress-related hormones is slowed down. Stress is not just emotional – it is very physical. By decreasing those hormones, you improve your overall health.
After you get on a good path with exercise, you will find that you will get more social, feel happier, and start participating in life more. Happiness can come when you feel healthy enough to do anything you want to do. When you can engage in play with kids and grandkids, join friends for social outings, and do more things with your significant other. Life is short; make it more enjoyable!
Should You Talk to Your Doctor Before Exercising?
For most people, it is OK to start an exercise program without checking with a health care provider. However, if you have not exercised in a while, are over age 50, or have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease, contact your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
How Can I Decide What Types of Exercise to Do?
Here are some questions you should consider:
- What physical activities do I enjoy?
- Do I prefer group or individual activities? If you’re looking to build your social circle and join a community, consider Studio Fitness or Team Training!
- What programs best fit my schedule?
- Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
- What goals do I have in mind? (For example: weight loss, strengthening muscles, improving flexibility, or mood enhancement) You can chat with a team member at the gym or attend a FITNESS CLINIC to determine what works best for you!
How Often Should You Exercise to Work On Improving Your Happiness?
Try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Studies indicate that exercising four or five times a week is even better. Take it easy if you are just beginning. Start exercising for 20 minutes. Then you can build up to 30 minutes or more.
So there you have it! No more excuses. Go for a five-minute walk, take up yoga, try running, join a GROUP Fitness class, and be happy!