Have you ever had a day where you were inexplicably “down” or grumpy – a day where you didn’t want to do anything? If you’re like most people, your answer is probably “yes.”
Now, let me ask you another question: have you ever had one of those days where even though didn’t want to do anything, you forced yourself to get up and go for a walk or perform some other physical activity? Did your mood improve after you were physically active for a bit? Again, if you’re like most people, your answer is probably “yes.”
How Exercise Improves Your Mood
What accounts for your improved mood after being active? Exercise triggers your body to produce certain types of hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are wonderful hormones that offer several physiological and psychological effects, such as:
- Reducing the perception of pain
- Improving our mood and general outlook
- Making it easier for us to cope with stress
- Increasing relaxation
- Yoga has been shown to increase strength and flexibility while calming the mind and centering focus. What’s not to love?
- Whether your prefer a stationary bike or one you can use to explore the outdoors, cycling has been shown to stimulate the neural circuits in our brain that make us feel more energized.
- Tai Chi is a unique, relatively calm form of exercise that focuses on shifting your weight from one leg to the other through a series of upright poses. There is also a great deal of focus on breathing. Turning your focus inward in this manner allows your mind to clear as you exercise.
- Though they can be vigorous, Pilates can also be a great way to ease into an exercise routine. Some studies have also shown that people who perform Pilates regularly tend to sleep better.
- You don’t to lift hundreds of pounds to enjoy the benefits of weight lifting. One study found that people who lifted weights performed better on multi-tasking and other cognitive tests.
- Walking is a low-impact and relatively easy way to incorporate more movement into your life without leaving yourself completely exhausted. If you haven’t been walking much recently, start small – even fifteen minutes at a time can make a big difference in the long run.
- If you enjoy music and dancing, Zumba could be the perfect form of exercise for you. Zumba features exercise routines that are set to music, so you get to enjoy the added psychological benefits of listening to great tunes as you exercise.
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces body fat
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Strengthens bones
- Strengthens the heart
- Makes your body generally more fit and healthy