How Exercise Improves Mood
Regular exercise is good for your mood
The role exercise plays in improving one's mode
You know how important exercise is for your health. You know it is good for the health of your heart. You know it helps in lowering high blood pressure levels. You also know it helps in reducing your body fat and keeping you fit. But do you really know how important exercise is for improving your mood and keeping depression at bay?
When we think of exercise, rarely do we think of it as something that helps in boosting our mood. But believe it or not, exercise (regular exercise) does a great job in improving your mood and easing the symptoms of depression. And in this article, we are going to take a look at how exercise helps in boosting your mood.
How does exercise improve mood?
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that the average person feels better after engaging in about 30 minutes of vigorous exercise. How does this happen? According to scientists, when a person engages in physical activity, his or her body releases a number of chemicals, including endorphins and neurotransmitters, which are collectively known as “feel-good brain chemicals”. The reason these chemicals are called feel-good chemicals is simply because of the fact that they react with certain parts of the brain (mainly the receptors) and leave a person feeling relaxed and better.
Endorphins, when released by your body, not only help in reducing your perception of discomfort and pain, but also act as a natural sedative, thus helping in calming you down and making you feel relaxed.
Many scientists have compared Endorphins to the pain medication morphine since they both help in decreasing the feeling of pain. However, there is a difference between the two. The difference is the fact that morphine often leads to addiction and numerous dangerous side effects. On the other hand, the endorphins produced naturally by the body have no side effects whatsoever!
Exercise and depression
Can exercise really provide relief from depression? The answer is YES! Since exercise helps in boosting a person’s mood and triggering a positive feeling in us. It goes without saying that it can play an instrumental role in helping the average person get some relief from depression and stress. Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity is capable of reducing stress and preventing or mitigating anxiety and depression. It is for this reason that many experts advise people who are clinically depressed to engage in regular physical activity.
Other ways in which regular exercise improves mood
Below are some great ways in which engaging in regular exercise can improve a person’s mood:
- Exercise helps in boosting a person's self-confidence; since it helps keep you in shape. And this often means that you are going to feel good about the way you look. The more you feel good about your appearance, the higher your self-confidence becomes and the happier you are going to be.
- Exercise also helps take our minds off the problems we face in life. The more we engage in exercise, the more distracted we are from our worries and problems. Besides helping us to unwind, exercise gives us the opportunity to spend some time outdoors and meet and interact with people. These simple things help in no small way in taking our minds away from the problems of life. And this automatically saves us from falling into anxiety and depression.
What type of exercise improves mood?
Right about now, some readers might be wondering if there are certain types of exercises that are best for improving mood and warding off depression. But according to research, any type of physical activity such as jogging, dancing, swimming, biking, brisk walking, etc is capable of boosting our mood and easing depression.
How often should one exercise?
You should try to engage in about 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity, at least three times a week. If you can do that more than three times a week, then that is even better! And always make sure that the physical activity that you engage in is one that you love doing! If it is playing basketball that you enjoy doing, then by all means you should go for it. If it is swimming that makes you happy, then go for it as well. Just find out which physical activity you love doing the most and go for it so that you don’t get bored or feel reluctant doing it.
Remember that any physical activity that makes your heart pump faster is good for boosting your mood and easing depression.
NOTE: It is important that you speak with your doctor before you begin exercising; if you are someone who hasn't exercised in a very long time or someone who suffers from serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It is also imperative that pregnant women speak with their doctors before engaging in certain types of exercises.
I hope this post on how exercise improves mood has been useful to you?