Tired of the winter blues? Well, we’ve got news for you; exercise and better fitness levels are all you need to begin feeling less stressed, more confident, healthier and happier overall. That’s right, staying active not only keeps you slim and strong but it can also have a profound impact on your mood. Here are seven ways that exercise can have you singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in no time:
- Happy Brain Chemistry
When you work out, your brain releases dopamine, an organic chemical that allows you to experience the feelings of pleasure and joy. Dopamine levels tend to decrease as we age, so increasing dopamine productivity through exercise gets even more crucial with time. Keeping fit also boosts levels of serotonin, a chemical that is also directly related to feeling happy. Lastly, when you exercise you will also experience a boost of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, which leave you feeling satisfied and refreshed after each workout.
- Stress Relief
Fun fact: it only takes five minutes of cardio or strength training for you to begin feeling less stressed. When you begin sweating away all of your worries on a regular basis your body will get used to the low-level stress caused by a raised heart rate and everyday stressors will no longer seem so, well, stressful. Exercise also rearranges the brain in a way that reduces emotional tension and prevents a variety of mental disorders including anxiety and depression.
- A Boosted Self-Esteem
You may not be working out just to look good but if you are doing it right you are going to wind up looking pretty good anyway and trust us, you’re going to love it. You’ll feel better about yourself, your confidence will go up and you’ll feel not only faster and stronger but more independent as well.
- Subdued Anxiety and Depression
Researchers have found that exercise may just be the healthiest alternative there is to prescription medication used to treat both anxiety and depression. Though exercise may seem to offer only an immediate mood boost that feeling actually turns into a long-term sense of relief that you might get from meditation or therapy. This is because working out engages the brain’s memory, motivation and emotional engagement properties.
- Increased Confidence
A healthier appearance always makes for a more confident person and once you get in the routine of working out regularly, those healthy decisions are going to carry over to other aspects of your life such as your diet. Exercise also allows your body and mind to handle more stress, which in turn makes performing everyday tasks easier. A newly boosted libido will keep you searching for new goals to accomplish in both your fitness routine and personal life.
- Improved Immune System
Various studies have shown that regular exercise can help to prevent an array of diseases and illnesses. This is because when you work out bacteria and carcinogens are being flushed out from your lungs and other major organs. The stress-reduction aspect of fitness also comes into play as stress is often a cause or promotor of various illnesses.
- A Better Night’s Sleep
It’s not easy to be a happy person when you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. Your brain requires a solid seven to eight hours of uninterrupted snoozing in order to function to its’ full potential. Working out will allow your brain to get rid of metabolic debris and repair brain cells over night, leaving you happier and healthier the next morning.