So we often hear how exercise makes you happy right? I mean its been said it can cure depression, Parkinson’s and more but do we ever really know why?
Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the actual connection between feeling happy and exercising………
So when we exercise we improve our fitness, our stamina and our muscle. We improve the ability to do simple things like climb the stairs, pick up heavy objects and walk or run further distances. When it comes to our brain though what is actually happening?
When you start exercising your brain recognises this as a moment of stress. Your heart pressure increases, your brain thinks you are fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress your body releases a protein called BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising. At the same time endorphins, another chemical to fight stress is released into your brain. These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria. Overall there is a lot going on inside our brain!!
BNDF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so good. The actual scary part in this is that they have similar and addictive behaviour like morphine, heroine or nicotine. The only difference? Well they are actually good for you!
So if we know what is good for us and why it is happening , how can we trigger it or make it last longer? To get the highest level of happiness and benefits for health, the key is not becoming a professional athlete, a much smaller amount is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity in everyday peaks. In fact the first 20 mins of moving around, if someone has been sedentary provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk and all of those things come in the first 20 mins of being active.
So really you don’t have to kill yourself to be happy!! You just need to focus a good 20 mins to feel good!! This means that daily exercise can pave the way not only for happiness but also growth in other areas of your life. So how are you going to commit to getting happy? Here are some ideas:
Put your gym clothes over your alarm clock when you go to bed… pretty simple way to focus!
Track your exercise and log them every time you exercise…. enjoy the sense of accomplishment.
Start with 5 minutes a day, build it up every time…. especially if you are just starting out. The home workout area has awesome 5 min sessions here: 5 Min Workout
Even better news if your are brand NEW to Ashford Fit Club, because you are starting out with us your happiness gains will be the highest!!
So how do you feel after a workout?
Thanks to Coach Sarah for the inspirational article from fastcompany.com