Why Exercise Makes You Happier
Who wants to go to the gym when staying at home is so much easier? Why exhaust yourself by sweating and pumping iron when lying in bed sounds like more fun?
Most people exercise to improve their health or lose weight. It's no secret that consistent workouts help stave off obesity, cancer, diabetes, and several heart problems. However, few people recognize that exercise can help improve your happiness. You heard correctly. If a longer and healthier life isn't enough to motivate you, why not concentrate on working out makes you feel good? Regular exercise becomes a feedback loop where you begin to crave the positive effects which encourage you to keep returning to the gym.
Need some motivation? Check out these reasons to hit the gym:
Exercise boosts endorphins.
Endorphins are the body's "feel-good hormones" responsible for creating feelings of joy and euphoria. These hormones trigger a happy emotion similar to that of morphine. When you work out, you put your body under stress, and the body reacts by releasing endorphins to combat the pain and discomfort of exercise. These effects linger long after your workout is over.
Working out reduces stress.
Think of cortisol as endorphin's evil twin. Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone, " and high levels of cortisol can result in anxiety and other negative feelings. Luckily, exercise helps lower cortisol levels, thus reducing stress.
Fitness has many social benefits.
Humans are sociable creatures who crave interactions with other people. Joining a gym, class, or sports team provides an excellent opportunity to meet new friends. Working out with your significant other helps deepen your relationship. Finding a workout partner will keep you encouraged to return to your fitness routine.
You will gain self-esteem.
Regular exercise helps improve your self-image. The most obvious reason is that you will lose weight, gain muscles, and look better. However, just learning to set and follow through with goals will give you a sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you were able to overcome obstacles is a powerful motivator that will make you feel good about yourself.
Exercise gives you energy.
This statement might sound like an oxymoron, especially if half an hour on the treadmill leaves you winded and gasping for breath. However, exercise helps boost energy levels. Just getting up and moving helps fight fatigue. A 2008 study by the University of Georgia discovered that sedentary people could increase their energy by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65% by merely performing regular workouts.
You build good habits.
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, found that good habits create a chain reaction that produces more positive practices. For example, making your bed and hitting the gym consistently also helps curb smoking and eating junk food. Start by going to the gym daily, and you'll soon build other productive habits.
Fitness will help you lead a better life.
You'll live longer and be healthier and happier. Your happiness and lack of stress will also help curb depression, stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Fighting those conditions will, in turn, help stave off physical ailments caused by stress and depression such as muscle tension, headaches, high blood pressure, appetite changes, and more.
Start slow. Five or ten minutes on the treadmill won't kill you. Slowly build up your routines and challenge yourself. Your body and brain will thank you.
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