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When you’re having a bad day, or are feeling down, the best way to increase your happiness may be to exercise.
There is a strong link between exercise and an improvement in mood and well-being.
Try it out for yourself.
Go for a brisk 30 minute walk whenever you’re feeling depressed and unhappy. You’ll notice your mood starting to improve throughout the walk. When you get back, you may notice that you’ve feeling even happier.
This increase of happiness and well-being after exercise is caused by two different mechanisms in our body.
- Exercise causes the release of brain chemicals like endorphins and other natural mood enhancers. This happens just a few minutes after you work out and the effect can last for up to 12 hours.
- Exercise also helps reduce the levels of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, in the body. That means you’ll instantly feel less stressed.
This one-two punch can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Something as simple as a brisk walk can help you feel better almost immediately.
For best results, you want to exercise a few times per week. Take some time during your lunch break to go for a walk, or fit in a quick workout in before you head to work in the morning. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you start moving around and get that blood pumping. Pick activities you enjoy that you will stick with. (LINK TO EXTERNAL ARTICLE ON CHOOSING THE BEST EXERCISE PROGRAM FOR YOU)
In addition to the everyday mood boost you get from exercising regularly, there are quite a few additional long term benefits. Exercise is good for your health and you will start to get fitter and even slimmer and more toned if you stick with it. This in turn will improve how you feel and how you see yourself. That added confidence can be a great additional mood booster.
For best results, try to get as much exercise as you can outside. Fresh air and sunshine add to a feeling of wellbeing. Come up with some simple things you can start doing right now. Maybe it’s going for a walk each afternoon. Maybe it’s a fast-paced Zumba class with friends. Maybe it’s signing up for a yoga or Pilates class at your local community center, or studio.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you make it a goal to be more active. Switch it up and plan a group hike for the weekend, or dust off your bike. Find some great deals on Groupon to try new exercise styles. Make exercise a social activity and not a chore you have to do.
There are a lot of fun ways to move around and enjoy the world around you.