Happiness is a pretty subjective concept. So many factors are used as predictors of happiness such as income, marital status, religion, and education. Aside from those, one HUGE predictor of personal happiness is physical health. The ability to ward off sickness and disease, maintain a hormonal balance, and manage stress all contribute to self-satisfaction.
That's one reason people who work out might be happier - exercise stimulates the production of disease fighting proteins known as antibodies, which destroy unwelcome invaders like bacteria and viruses. Physically active people are generally better equipped to combat sickness and stress, a key component of happiness.cal exercise, the brain also releases endorphins, chemicals known to produce feelings of euphoria, commonly associated with a "runner's high." Endorphins trigger the release of sex hormones, such as norepinephrine, which enhance mood and create a sense of well-being.
Helping to reduce stress levels is another benefit of exercise that can boost happiness levels. When we exercise, our bodies burn the stress hormone cortisol. Too much stress, and high cortisol levels, can increase feelings of nervousness and anxiety while decreasing motivation and immune function. Not to mention the dreaded "spare tire" around your mid-section!
The Exercise/Mind Connection
Most of us are aware of what happens to the body when we exercise. We build more muscle and more stamina. Activities like climbing stairs become easier if we exercise regularly. In the matters of the brain and mood, the connection isn't so clear.
In reality, there is a lot more going on inside our brain when we are more active than when we are just sitting down or even concentrating mentally.
Maximizing the Exercise/Happiness Connection
We know the basic foundations behind why exercise makes us happy and what is happening inside our brain cells. Now, how do we trigger this to achieve optimal and longer lasting results?
To achieve the highest level of happiness and benefits from exercise, you do not have to strive to become a professional athlete. A much smaller amount is needed to reach the level where happiness and productivity in everyday life peaks.
The first 30 minutes of moving around provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk - all of those things come in the first 30 minutes of being active. Many studies have shown if you work out regularly, you tend to be more productive and happier at work! You perform better and are more focused.
In reality, there is no need to be on the look-out for the next fad or killer work-out. All you have to do is get in a focused 30 minutes of exercise in order to get the full happiness boost every day. Just 3 times a week of strength training, making sure to get your cardio in as well as paying attention to your nutrition will improve not only your mood, but your health as well.
Steph Nygren Mobile Training offers 45 minute workouts to get the most exercise bang in the shortest amount of time by building cardio into your strength training sessions for maximum results.
It has been proven on exercise days, that 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 on days that they skipped the gym!
How can you get into a consistent exercise habit?
Starting any exercise routine is still easier written than done. At the end of the day, there is quite a lot of focus required to help you get into the habit of exercising daily. The most important part to note first is to make exercise a "habit". This means that daily exercise can pave the way not only for happiness, but also growth in all other areas of your life. It has been said that a new habit only takes 2 weeks to develop. Aren't you worth 2 weeks to test that theory?
Put your gym clothes right over your alarm clock or phone when you go to bed or have your gym bag packed for after work!
This technique sounds rather simple, but has been one of the most powerful ones. If you put everything the way you want it for your workout before you go to sleep and put your alarm under your gym clothes, you will have a much easier time convincing yourself to put your gym clothes on.
Think about starting small and then start even smaller
Set realistic goals! Setting goals too high is the best indicator of not continuing with your exercise routine. You WILL become discouraged and quit. I can guide you to set realistic goals with personal one on one counseling in all areas of fitness: strength training, cardio, nutrition.
The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time. So this means that if you have never exercised before or not for a long time, you can begin an exercise routine that you can build on for a lifetime of health.
Promoting optimal health requires making exercise a habit! While many people grimace at the thought of sweat, spandex, and lunges, exercise may be a prescription for more than just keeping the doctor away. Research consistently suggests there's a link between physical fitness and happiness.