Boost Your Happiness Quotient With Exercise
March 20th is the UN International Day of Happiness. It recognises the relevance of happiness and well-being as fundamental human goals. It is important that you find your own happiness and then spread it further.
One quickest way to be happy is exercising. Don’t worry, no one is asking you to hit the gym and do an intensive training session. A 30-minute walk in the park will also bring happiness to you.
Pursuit of Happiness
The question arises, how is exercising going to help in your pursuit of happiness?
A lot of researchers who have been studying exercise have found that exercise has a positive impact on your mood. Any physical activity stimulates the release of “feel-good” chemicals in your brain. These are called endorphins.
Some researchers claim that exercise acts as a diversion from negative thoughts. It improves your mood leading to personal growth and goal attainment. Researchers also have evidence that indicates that the social interaction involved in certain kinds of exercise contributes to personal satisfaction and mood enhancement.
Thus, research reveals a beneficial connection between exercise and ageing, longevity, wellness and self-esteem. These influence your overall happiness in several ways.
The activity of running increases the production of tryptophan hydroxylase, an enzyme that is necessary for the creation of serotonin. Serotonin is another chemical in your brain associated with feeling happy.
Exercising doesn’t only make people happier at that moment, but also generates positive long-term effects more conducive to long-term happiness.
According to research, even just 10 minutes of exercise is helpful for a quick boost in your physical and mental health.
Benefits of Exercising
Stronger Immune System: Exercise and happiness lead to increased production of antibodies. Research says that happiness has shown an increase of antibodies in the body by as much as 50 percent. These antibodies assist to build a better immune system and keep you healthy.
Improves sleep: Outdoor exercise gives exposure to natural light. This helps in regulating the internal body clock reinforcing our circadian rhythm. It helps you sleep better.
Boosts energy: You feel more energised after a workout. This is because exercise gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing. It also releases endorphins which raises our energy level.
Lowers anxiety and depression: Research suggests that active people are less depressed than inactive people. Regular exercise helps ease depression and anxiety. It also prevents relapsing into depression.
Increase brain power: Regular exercise changes the structure and function of your brain over time. It stimulates the growth of new neuronal connections in your brain. It is a memory booster, makes you more creative and slows down cognitive decline.
Motivates healthier eating: Starting an exercise routine may inspire you to have healthier eating habits. Studies show that high-intensity exercise is associated with an increased preference for healthy foods.
Gets addiction under control: Studies show that exercise can help in addiction recovery. It can act as a way to distract people who have drug or alcohol addiction.
Practical Tips for Exercise
- Try to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity on a daily basis.
- Have a variation in the type of exercise you do throughout the week.
- Always choose activities that you enjoy.
- If you cannot do high impact workouts, then try low impact activities like walking, swimming or cycling.
- Try to take stairs instead of a lift.
- Walk when you have to do neighbourhood shopping.
- Try group exercises to be motivated by fellow participants.
Be aware that exercise is not a cure for being happy. It will help our mood and anxiety, but you need to combine it with other beneficial activities like healthy eating, necessary medication, counselling, mental wellness and a supportive environment.
So get your joggers ready, get active and bring a smile to your face!
Happy International Day of Happiness!