Exercise and happiness go hand-in-hand, according to Dr. John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard and the author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Although most people equate exercise to work, there are so many reasons why consistent exercise can make you happier in the long run.
One of the top reasons why most people exercise is to feel good. The brain releases chemicals called endorphins during physical activity. These endorphins trigger the release of norepinephrine which enhances mood and creates the sense of well-being. Often known as the “runner’s high,” this effect can help you start your day off on a good note or make you feel great after a long work day. According to the researchers at the University of Vermont, the mood benefits of just 20 minutes of exercise can last as long as 12 hours.
GREATER SELF CONFIDENCE
When we look good, we feel good. Working out leads to a more a healthy and toned body. It’s not only the physical changes that give you the confidence boost. Your skin and hair also becomes healthier as you release toxins from your body. Sweating helps get rid of oils and dirt trapped in your pores, hence that post-workout glow!
REDUCE STRESS AND FIGHT DISEASE
When you’re anxious, angry or stressed out, your body reacts by producing cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that damages the body’s organs over time. Exercise can boost happiness levels by reducing stress, leading to greater health and happiness. Exercise also stimulates production of antibodies which fights disease, viruses and bacteria.
Fitness activities can create a greater sense of fulfillment when you interact with others. Whether you’re participating in a fitness class with your colleagues, training with a partner, or playing sports together, these are all great ways to support each other in a positive environment while having fun. The emotional and the physiological benefits of regular fitness activities makes it more enjoyable and something to look forward to every time. This will also keep you motivated and help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals.
EXERCISE FOR SUCCESS
Setting a goal through fitness is an excellent way to help drive your ambition towards success. Whether it’s a short term or long term goal, the small accomplishments along the way will help you establish a sense of fulfillment. Once you begin to witness your transformation and overcome obstacles, the success you achieve physically will transfer to other areas in your life. This will help you attain a better quality of life overall.
Fitness is a key factor in your happiness. Exercising regularly can help prevent sickness, maintain hormonal balance, and manage stress levels which all contribute to a greater sense of inner peace and well being. Most importantly, find what works for you and an activity which you will enjoy. Try different activities which can be in the form of classes, team sports, working with a personal trainer or online training. Whatever you choose needs to work with your schedule or you won’t stick with it. Exercise outdoors if possible to change up the scenery.
True happiness does not come only from the outside. It’s the changes you make along the way and from within which will help you become more balanced in life overall. Make healthier choices and do what you need to do to feel better about yourself. Exercise is one way you can become happier and healthier in mind and body.
Cindy Lai Fitness
Holistic Health Coach