6 Reasons Why Exercise Makes You Happier

Exercise boosts the hormones that trigger that feeling of happiness which many medical experts say is similar to that of morphine.

Who wants to go to the gym when staying at home is so much easier? Why exhaust yourself by sweating and working out when lying in bed sounds like more fun?

Most people exercise to improve their health or lose weight. It’s no secret that consistent workouts help stave off obesity, cancer, diabetes, and several heart problems. However, few people recognize that exercise can help improve your happiness. You heard correctly. If living a longer and healthier life isn’t enough to motivate you, why not concentrate on the fact that working out makes you feel good? In fact, consistent exercise becomes a feedback loop where you begin to crave the positive effects which encourage you to keep returning to the gym.

Need some extra motivation? Check out these six reasons to hit the gym!

1. Exercise Boosts Endorphins

Exercise boosts endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s “feel-good hormones” which are responsible for creating feelings of joy and euphoria. These hormones trigger that feeling of happiness which many medical experts say is similar to that of morphine. When you work out, you put your body under stress, and the body reacts by releasing endorphins to combat the pain and discomfort of exercise. These effects linger long after your workout is over. 

2. Sweat To Reduce the Negative Health Effects of Stress.

Think of cortisol as endorphin’s evil twin. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone, ” and high levels of cortisol can result in anxiety and tension, subsequently reducing insulin sensitivity and impairing your ability to burn fat and build muscle. If cortisol remains chronically high, your blood sugar and blood pressure will rise, you’ll store more calories as fat and your immune system will be suppressed. You also may feel wired or anxious in the evening, making it hard to sleep.

Looking at the other side of the coin, cortisol is not ‘all’ bad. There are some benefits to cortisol. Cortisol is required for optimal health and can actually burn fat under the right circumstances: Growth hormone and catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), which rise during exercise, can accentuate the ability of cortisol to burn fat while suppressing its potential to store it. Short, intense bouts of exercise serve to elevate cortisol as well as HGH and catecholamines.

You want cortisol to be high during exercise. Catecholamines work synergistically with cortisol and other fat-burning hormones to aid in the release of fat, especially abdominal and visceral fat. Although exercise raises cortisol for the short-term, the long-term effect of exercise is to lower cortisol — one of many ways exercises reduces the impact of stress on the body.

3. You Get Off Instagram!

Fitness has many social benefits. Humans are sociable creatures who crave interactions with other people. Joining a gym, class, or sports team provides an excellent opportunity to meet new friends. Working out with your significant other helps deepen your relationship. Finding a workout partner will keep you encouraged to return to your fitness routine. 

4. Boost Self-Esteem

Regular exercise helps improve your self-image. The most obvious reason is that you will lose weight, build lean muscle, and look better. However, just learning to set and follow through with goals will give you a sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you were able to overcome obstacles is a powerful motivator that will make you feel good about yourself. 

5. Exercise Gives You ENERGY!

This statement might sound like an oxymoron, especially if half an hour on the treadmill leaves you winded and gasping for breath. However, both high-intensity and low-intensity workouts help boost energy. Just getting up and moving helps fight fatigue. A 2008 study by the University of Georgia discovered that sedentary people could increase their energy by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65% by merely performing regular low-intensity fitness exercises. Walking your dog or doing a few yoga exercises is better than being sedentary and will help make you feel energized. High-intensity exercise is the best way to increase your energy levels over time. Even though you leave the gym feeling exhausted, high-intensity exercise boosts the hormones in our bodies such as testosterone and growth-hormone responsible for confidence, energy, rebuilding and repairing tissue and much more. 

6. You Form Good Habits.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, found that good habits create a chain reaction that produces more positive practices. For example, making your bed and hitting the gym consistently also helps curb smoking and eating junk food. Start by going to the gym on a daily basis, and you’ll soon build other productive habits. 

Fitness will help you lead a better life. You’ll live longer and be healthier and happier. Your happiness and lack of stress will also help curb depression, stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Fighting those conditions will, in turn, help stave off physical ailments caused by stress and depression such as muscle tension, headaches, high blood pressure, appetite changes, and more.

Start off slow. If you hate to exercise, five or ten minutes on the treadmill won’t kill you. Slowly build up your routines and challenge yourself. Your body and brain will thank you.