Exercise is viewed by many people as a tool for weight loss, physical fitness and long life. However, regular physical activity also brings with it a lot of psychological benefits and can be an important tool for achieving happiness and well-being.
Exercise boosts levels of neurochemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, relieving some of the symptoms of stress and depression. In addition, when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These interact with the receptors in your brain, reducing your perception of pain. They also trigger a positive, even euphoric, feeling and are the explanation for the so called 'runner's high.' Aiming to include exercise in your daily routine, will help reduce stress, enhance your frame of mind and overall make you feel happier.
If you, like many, do not like the idea of exercise, do something to make it fun:
- Team up with a friend or partner and go for regular walks.
- Put on music and dance around your living room.
- Sign up for a class, such as Zumba or ballroom dancing.
- Consider buying a dog (if you have the time and space to look after it). Dogs need a lot of walking and it's sometimes easier to look after somebody else's well-being than to look after your own.
- Join a local sports league. There are leagues for every age and ability. Try your hand at touch rugby or softball and make some new friends while you get fit.
Once you start feeling the health benefits of exercise and the sense of well-being that accompanies it, you will be motivated to increase the amount you do. To read more on the benefits of exercise, please read this article that I wrote for Anything Goes Lifestyle Magazine or go to my earlier blog on the benefits of exercise.