Have you ever wondered why exercise makes you happy, and if indeed this statement is true? I am just back training after 5 weeks of injury. For the first two weeks I was suffering from a mild knee injury, so I could still do core and strength training with modifications. I had only recovered from that when I fell from a head stand in yoga, and hurt my back. It was a moment of distraction which I have paid heavily for. My pelvis was out of alignment, and I was in a lot of pain. At first I was so annoyed with myself, and gave into self-pity. Then I decided that I could beat myself up, which was easy, or pick myself up, which was a lot more difficult. I began to focus on what I could do, rather than lamenting what I couldn’t. Physio was helping but I knew I needed to give myself time to heel, rest and repair. I ate plenty of lean protein, which contributes to muscle repair. It was an ideal time to catch up with reading, which kept my brain active, even if my body wasn’t.
Today I began training again. Under advice from Maurice Looby Fitness Coach, I jogged slowly for 500m, ran for 1k, and jogged slowly for the last 500m. 2k may not seem like very much, but today it felt like I’d completed a marathon. When I returned home I could literally feel the endorphins surging through my body, and I couldn’t keep the smile from my face. I hadn’t realised how much I had missed that feeling, until I had it back. It felt like an instant shot of happiness, and hours later, while writing this blog, I am still experiencing the benefits of my little 2 k jog. Let’s take a closer look at why exercise makes you happy?
Exercise and Happiness; It’s Not A Myth
When we work out and are active on a regular basis we are less stressed out, less anxious and generally happier. It is not a coincidence. Studies show that there is a direct link between exercising and happiness for a number of reasons. Yes I’m sure you have already heard about the endorphins, the statements about happy hormones have been thrown about for years, so let’s delve deeper into why exercise makes you happy. When we start to exercise our brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As our heart rate increases, the brain thinks we are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect ourselves and our brain from stress, we release a protein called BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to our memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and can think clearer after exercising, which of course leads to feelings of happiness. At the same time, endorphins, a hormone which fights stress, is released in to our brain. Endorphins main purpose is to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and leave us with a feeling of euphoria. BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel happier. The strange thing is that they have similar addictive behaviour as morphine, heroine or nicotine. The difference is Exercise Is Good For Us.
How To Maximize The Benefits of Exercise
To maximize the benefits of exercising the key is CONSISTENCY. In other words Exercise 5 Times Per Week. The intensity of the work out or the length of time spent doing it is not nearly as important as the regularity of 5 Times Per Week. To get the highest level of fat loss, fitness, strength, well-being and happiness from activity we do not have to become professional athletes. A much smaller amount is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity in everyday life peaks. Just thirty minutes 5 Times per Week will fast forward fat loss, help us to tone and change our body shape, build strength of body and mind, reduce risk of disease, prolong our life expectancy and enhance our feelings of happiness.
Exercise Does Make You Happy
As if helping us to lose body fat, achieving our desired body shape, improving our fitness, building strength and improving our well-being wasn’t enough, we find out that exercise does make us happy too. Walk, run, lift, jump, dance, play and get happy.
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