Exercise for Happiness

Ever have those days where it seems like everything that can possibly go wrong does? Yeah. I hate those days. On days like that, when you’re drained and frustrated, the clichéd response is to fall onto the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Don’t do it! Aside from the fact that it’s cliché (and who wants to be cliché?), experts agree that there’s a much healthier response that’s guaranteed to boost your mood: exercise! Even a 15-minute workout can really calm you down, get the endorphins flowing and help you cope with the day a little bit better. Here are three reasons you should hit the gym instead of the fridge.

1. Stopping the Cycle
Working out distracts your brain from whatever negative thoughts are rolling around up there. Whatever is going on at work, in your relationships, in your home, exercise gives you a momentary distraction and a sense of control and mastery that can help you cope.

2. Endorphins!
Exercise boosts seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which are all part of your body’s natural happiness cocktail. Even if you can’t get to a gym, a brisk lunchtime walk or jog will lift your mood and make you feel better about life. There’s also something to be said for fresh air, sunlight and human interaction.

3. Body Sauna Effect
Working out actually raises your body’s temperature by 1-2 degrees, treating your body to a naturally soothing heat wave. Those warm sensations increase endorphins in your blood stream and actually have a calming effect similar to spending some time in a sauna or a hot tub! To turn the heat up and reap the benefits, work those larger muscle groups for at least 20 minutes.

So, the next time you have one of “those” days, don’t collapse dramatically onto your couch with your favorite junk food. Do your body and your mind a favor and get active! If you can’t get to the gym, take 15 minutes outside. If you can, get thee to our bootcamp and sweat away the frustrations of your day. You’ll be glad you did!

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