Exercise is beneficial in many ways, and not all of them physical. According to a recent report in a leading UK newspaper, taking part in exercise regularly can decrease the risk of dementia and depression by 20 to 30 per cent. Further to that, the Mental Health Foundation claims that just a 10 minute brisk walk can help towards improving your emotional state. Exercising is great for toning up body and mind; here are some brilliant ways that exercising works to increase your happiness.
Relish in your results
The most obvious change you’ll notice after long-term exercise is the effect it will have had on you physically. Not only do you deserve to be proud of yourself for your achievements, but it can have a great positive effect on your self-esteem. Make the most of that wonderful feeling!
Focus, focus, focus
The focus required in a workout or exercise class gives you the opportunity to forget about the things that are worrying you, which can reduce stress and anxiety outside of the gym.
Get into a routine
We humans love routine; we operate best when we know exactly what’s coming next. Making a trip to the gym or even a bicycle ride to work part of your daily routine lets your mind feel secure and, even better, makes exercise a lot easier.
Call your friends...
Inviting your friends to your exercise class isn’t only an excellent way to make sure you actually go; it can also make your class even more enjoyable. Bringing friends along to a workout gives you a chance to bond and spend some quality time together, as well as offering eachother encouragement. A friendly face who makes you smile can turn what may seem like a daunting trip to the gym into an enjoyable experience that leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
...Or go it alone
There’s also nothing wrong with using a workout as the perfect time for you to appreciate your own company. Not only is it a great opportunity to be alone with your thoughts, but it’s important to find something you enjoy and spend “quality time” with yourself.
Take it to work
Exercising just before work can leave you with a natural high that is going to have a knock-on effect throughout the rest of your day. A happy worker is a productive worker, which not only gives you a sense of self-satisfaction, but scores you a lot of praise from your superiors.
Let’s get scientific
A lot of complicated processes happen in your brain when your exercise begins and your heart starts to pump more blood to your neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine works with Dopamine to release a chemical that boosts your mood and leaves you feeling happy. Not only that, but mood-enhancing endorphins are released after just 20 minutes of exercise; showing that you physically can’t help feeling good after a workout!
Achieving a more intense, anaerobic workout like weight-lifting or sprinting pushes your heart into pumping more blood, as it can’t provide your muscles with enough oxygen to carry on when pumping the usual amount. Your cells cry out for that extra oxygen, which is when you’ll experience what is often described as a runner’s high.
We all know how much better we feel after a good night’s sleep, and it’s no surprise that working out helps you to make that possible. Not only does it tire your muscles so that you need rest, but your newly achieved stress-free mindset allows you to relax into a peaceful slumber. Your sleep is deeper, which makes it less likely to be interrupted by the usual nuisances: incessant waking, troubled thoughts or dreams and muscle cramps.
It’s easy to groan at the thought of an intense hour at the gym, but next time you decide you’re not in the mood, think again – push yourself to complete that hour and you can’t help but be happy. It’s a fact!