Exercise has been promoted as something that next to making your body look better, has wide-range of positive affect on our health, from being cure to memory loss, depression, to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and so much more. So let us walk you through scientific facts about what exercise does to our bodies and brains.
Exercise Is Triggering Happiness In Our Brains
During the exercise our body builds more muscle or more stamina. When we exercise regularly, daily physical activities, such as climbing the stairs, become easier. Once you start exercising, your brain sees it as a moment of stress. Also with exercise your heart pressure increases, and once it does, brain believes you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it, and after that, as a protection, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This protein, next to its protective role, has a reparative one too. It acts as a resert switch and it is a reason for our feeling at being at ease and happy after exercise.
Also, brain releases the endorphins. Researcher McGovern says: „These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.“
BDNF and endorphins have similar and addictive behavior like morphine, heroine and nicotine, but in a good way.
Focusing On „When“ Instead Of Doing More Is The Key To Maximize Happiness Via Exercise
Now that we know what happens inside our brain when we exercise, what we need to learn about next is how to trigger this in an optimal and longer lasting way.
Here is what people from Penn State University, who studied this, have to say: „Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.“
Gretchen Raynolds, New York Times best-selling author, has written a book titled The First 20 Minutes, in which he talks about an amount of exercise needed to reach the level of happiness and productivity in every day life. He says: „The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk – all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.“
Here is another quote about exercising, this time from University of Bristol: „On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.“
The Dance With The Endorphins
New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, explains that the daily exercise can pave the way not only for happiness, but also the growth in all other areas of your life.
Since developing a habit of exercising daily isn’t an easy task, here are some things you can do to make it easier to yourself:
Put your gym clothes right over your alarm clock or phone when you go to bed.
This simple technique is here to make it easier for you to convince yourself to put your gym clothes on.
Track your exercises and log them at the same time.
Making your daily exercise a habit is the key. Nowdays there are numerous fitness apps that might help you with your exerice routine, like Fitocracy or RunKeeper. Make sure you log your work-out right when you walk out of the gym.
Think about starting small and then start even smaller.
If you are just getting started with you exercise, you might consider starting with smaller amount of time, like five or ten minutes per day, three times a week. It sounds like nothing, but the task is easy and it is great for making a habit.
Starting Out With Exercise Might Give You The Highest Level Of Happiness
As it was previously said, BDNF proteins affect your mood and have effect similar to drug addiction as some studies found. The feeling of euphoria is the highest when you start exercising and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.
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