13 Nov 7 ways exercise makes you happy — and how much you need to improve your mood
via Business Insider by Margie Zable Fisher
- Exercise improves mood and boosts happiness in several ways including increased serotonin production, decreased stress hormones, and prolonged lifespan.
- Even just 10 minutes of exercise is helpful for a quick boost in your physical and mental health, according to research.
- This article was medically reviewed by David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Pacific Brain Health Centre at Providence Saint John’s Health Centre in Santa Monica, California.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Exercise comes with numerous health benefits that can lead to a happier, healthy life. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing cardio,strength training, or improving your balance and flexibility. There are benefits to reap from all types of exercise that can make you happy.
The effects of physical activity have been studied extensively. Research reveals a beneficial connection between fitness and areas such as longevity, nutrition, emotions, and self-esteem, all of which influence your overall happiness in a variety of ways.
Find out more about how you can be happier by committing to a physically active lifestyle.
How exercise makes you happy
Numerous studies show a link between physical activity and mood. For example, exercise is a preventative measure for depression and may even have a comparable effect to antidepressants in addressing major depressive disorder (MDD). And it doesn’t take much exercise to see a difference.
A 2018 review found that people felt happier with as little as 10 minutes of physical activity per week. But more exercise is better and increasing how often you exercise has been shown to lead to greater happiness.
Exercising outdoors may provide an additional happiness boost, as well. For example, a 2013 study showed that exercising in nature increases mood and self-esteem, while also decreasing tension, anger, and depression.
Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, Executive Director of Innovation360 and Ironman triathlete, cautions that exercise is not a happiness cure-all. “It can and should help our mood and anxiety,” he says, “but we may still need to utilise other beneficial things like medicine, counseling, spirituality, and encouraging communities.”
In addition to boosting mood, here are six more health benefits from exercising that may put a smile on your face:
Exercise helps you live longer. Living longer may lead to greater happiness, and many studies suggest a link between exercise and longevity. For example, researchers have found that exercise lowers the risk of osteoporosis, prevents the development of certain cancers, and increases overall longevity due to improved cardiovascular health in the elderly.
And what’s not to like about living longer?
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