Exercise Your Way to Happiness

 

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” – Joseph Pilates

 

Everyone is the architect of their own happinessA recent Gallup Poll shows Americans who exercise at least two days a week for 30 minutes a day report more happiness and less stress than those who are sedentary and the benefits of exercise reportedly increase when you are active up to six days a week.

Exercise is a natural stress reliever and has been proven to reduce the propensity for several diseases. It may even slow the rate of mental deterioration in those with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

But is there a direct link between exercise and happiness?

Interestingly, the two are similar in notable ways: both are independently associated with a boost to the immune system, and also with the release of endorphins. Even a 10-minute walk can immediately boost your brain chemistry and a mere 20-minutes of exercise has mood boosting effects that can last for up to 12-hours according to researchers at the University of Vermont!

Exercise has been shown to improve the sleep patterns of insomniacs, as well as lower their anxiety and studies indicate that exercise can even mimic the effects of antidepressants on the brain. Exercise is also responsible for the creation of new brain cells in the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. It has also been shown to increase the number of “hunters” (antibodies) and “killers” (T-cells) in our bodies by as much as 300 percent, so it’s no wonder a good workout literally keeps us feeling healthy and happy.

Meditation also provides our bodies with an increase in antibody production and, simultaneously, feelings of happiness.  Similarly, in Pilates we tune out the rest of the world and focus on breath and alignment which may produce some of the same benefits.

3 Tips to Get the Most Happiness From A Workout:

  1. Mix It Up – Strength training activities like Pilates have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and improve self-esteem. Pilates can relax the mind and body, and relieve stress.
  2. Grab a Buddy – Get the social benefits of exercise when you grab a friend or join a group activity. You’ll be more likely to stick with it! (Check out related post 5 Reasons to Workout with A Friend)
  3. Move to Music – Our moods can improve by 15% or more when we listen to motivating music during a workout. Plus, these positive feelings make the time fly by!

 

So get out there this summer. Get stronger and be happy!

Wishing you health & wellbeing!

holly-Furgason_sm

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