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Find Out if There is a Connection Between Exercise and Happiness

Is There a Connection Between Exercise and Happiness?
Have you been avoiding the treadmill for sometime now? If yes, then you better start using it, because, it can be your ticket to happiness. Find out how...
FitnessVigil Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk - all of those things come in the first 20 minutes of being active.
- Gretchen Reynolds, in the book The First 20 Minutes.
Most of us follow the same routine everyday. Getting up early in the morning, logging hours at work, and then returning home stressed out. This routine is followed day in and day out. And then we reach a point where we are completely stressed out, and depression creeps in. Once we enter the depression phase, it is very difficult to come out of it. The consequence being, we remain unhappy. With so much pressure around, it is necessary to rest in order to feel rejuvenated. One of the best ways to do so is to exercise.

FitnessVigil explains why exercising makes us happier.
Endorphins: Our Happiness Prescription
Man smiling in gym
Endorphin's actually help us stay happy. It goes like this; when we are really tired due to either exercising or doing other physical activities, endorphin's are released. Yes, these are the same chemicals that release sex hormones which induce a feeling of happiness and well-being. These chemicals are released by our brain. But can a chemical actually make us happy?
When we exercise, our brain is at work. It senses physical activity, and treats it as a moment of stress. When we are stressed out, all that the brain knows to do is to protect our body from this stress. In order to protect us from this stress, a protein called BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor) in released. This protein acts as a reset switch, and repairs our memory neurons. While the BDNF is performing its repairing function, endorphin's are released by our brain. These chemicals minimize the effect of stress, and induce a feeling of euphoria. It is because of endorphin's and BDNF that we feel good after exercising.
Is Daily Exercise Necessary?
Girl doing push ups
I know following an exercise regime is easier said than done. But, we need to take some efforts to remain happy in our lives, don't we? It is thus important to start exercising. We know that exercising is important, but how frequently should we exercise is the next question?

The Penn State University has conducted a research on the frequency of exercising. They found that it is necessary to exercise in order to be more productive and happier on a working day. However, it is not necessary that we will only be happy if we exercise on that particular day. If we exercise regularly, its effects will last on our body for a long time. We will benefit in the following ways:
  • Reduce stress
  • Eliminate depression
  • Boost self-esteem

So, even if daily exercising is not necessary, it is recommended that you follow a fixed exercise regime.
Does More Exercise Mean More Happiness?
Woman workout in gym
As it has been proven that exercise can boost happiness, does it mean that if we exercise more, we will be happier? How I wish this was true, but sadly, it isn't.

While exercising is a crucial part of boosting happiness, it is not the only factor. There are other factors too, like security, socializing, spending time with friends and family, amongst others. When you are happy, you feel energetic, and thus, you tend to exercise more. This extra exercise will not necessarily enhance your happiness quotient.

The increase of the BDNF protein is a mood enhancer, and is similar to drug addiction, like morphine. But the good news is that, this addiction has positive effects on our body, rather than negative. Similar to drug addiction, the feeling of euphoria after exercising is the highest. So, start an exercise program to stay fit and happy.