How does exercise make you happy?

How does exercise make you happy?

‘Go and get some fresh air’. ‘Go for a walk, you’ll feel better’. ‘Let’s do something to take our minds off this’. We all know that exercise is good for mood.

Our urge to move and explore starts as soon as a baby has control of its body. Anyone with small children knows that they become very grumpy if they are not allowed to run about. Set them free, whether indoors or outdoors, and they have a whale of a time and come home for a (hopefully) peaceful night.

The calming and mood-lifting effect works for adults as well – but how? 

The physical way that exercise lifts our mood is by the generation of the famous endorphins. The full name of these chemicals is ‘endogenous morphine’ and they give the same happy feeling as some achieve from dangerous drugs. Fortunately the drugs that our bodies generate reward us without harm.

The mental way that exercise lifts our mood is by distracting us from our problems. The simple acts of dressing for a workout and warming up will give us something else to think about. More complex moves to music or the effort of pushing our bodies will also take our thoughts in better directions.

Beautiful surroundings also improve a workout. Try a run or walk in a park or woodland, or along a shore if there is one near to you. You could also try a different gym – if you live in a city you may find one in a converted historic building, or there are still decorated swimming pools that have survived the wrecking ball.

Add some music and maybe some company – and your exercise is guaranteed to lift body and mind.

Comments

Emma C.
18 April 2014

Emma C.

Exercising first thing in the morning puts me on a real good mood for the rest of the day. I feel emotionally and physically energized. Everything is easier and life seems to have direction, purpose and positivity. I also eat better and sleep better when I exercise that day. This is why it makes me happy!

Tanya M.
17 April 2014

Tanya M.

I exercise outdoors for a reason. The natural surroundings really motivate me to push on. I also enjoy swimming and occasional sessions at the gym but once the sun is out you can't keep me indoors!

Elliot M.
17 April 2014

Elliot M.

I just like the way I feel like I've done something constructive with my day. As long as I've done some form of physical activity then I can be happy with myself

James B.
16 April 2014

James B.

The way exercise makes me happy - and I'm not sure whether it's a physical or a mental thing - is that it's a sort of brain detox. It's almost like a pressure valve, or a space where I can let out all the pent-up stress, frustration and other niggles from my day. Once all that junk has been cleared out, happiness just bubbles up spontaneously.

Clare R.
16 April 2014

Clare R.

the gap between the end of the workout and getting home is what I find hard - but once I am clean and comfortable the virtuous glow and physical exhaustion definitely make me happy!

Freya W.
14 April 2014

Freya W.

I always feel so much happier post-workout

Tom J.
14 April 2014

Tom J.

COuldn't agree more. Exercise definitely cheers me up. Hard part is finding the motivation to do it in the first place if I[m down. But it always helps

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