It’s easy to dread your daily workout. Getting motivated to get to your yoga class or go for a run is a lot of work, and once it’s over you’ll always feel better. This isn’t just because you’ve finished a task and have a sense of completion. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between happiness and physical activity. The more you exercise, the happier you are, and the happier you are the more you’ll exercise.
When you’re feeling down and someone tells you to take a walk, do it! There are a multitude of benefits to getting up and moving. According to a 15 studies done at the University of Michigan, all studies showed a direct or indirect association between happiness and exercise. Let’s look at the ways that exercise can promote happiness, and how happiness can motivate you to exercise.
Physical Activity to Boost Happiness
It’s a known fact that exercise increases endorphins. You know the term, “runner’s high”? That’s what they’re talking about. Once you’re in the swing of things on your daily jog, you’ll get a boost of energy. According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, as little as 10 minutes of physical activity a week has the potential to increase levels of happiness for short term. It doesn’t have to be strenuous activity either. Some easy physical activities could be:
- Taking a walk
- A simple walk around the block to get the blood pumping can do the trick. As you get more comfortable, increase length of walks.
- Yoga is an excellent way to stretch your body. The best part about yoga is you can make it as challenging or as easy as you want, it’s all up to you.
- Kick it up a notch from your walk to a light jog. Aerobic activity is the best at releasing endorphins, and this is how you’ll get that Runner’s High.
- Bike Ride
- Another aerobic activity sure to boost your mood. Biking is a great way to get out into nature and get some fresh air while you exercise.
Physical activity not only releases endorphins, it’s known to lower stress levels and help with anxiety and depression. Chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid are released when you engage in physical activity. These chemicals are all connected to feeling happy and confident, if you want to feel this way for the long term, try to exercise 3 times a week for 30 min.
Overall, when you exercise you will feel better. Getting into the habit of even a walk around the block every day will build up your happiness overtime. It’s also a reason to get out of the house and get some fresh air.
Socializing, Physical Activity and Happiness
While you might go on a jog or do yoga solo, another part of physical activity that can promote happiness is the socialization aspect. Attending group classes or events like marathons encourages socialization among like-minded people interested in the same type of physical activity.
Participating in group classes will help you connect with others. It is also known that socializing is a key element to happiness. Creating a group of individuals that you can engage in exercise activities with will not only increase happiness, but it will motivate you to get out there and do your workout. If you have a hard time building relationships, finding people who like to do the same things as you is a great way to do that. According to Psychology Today, healthy relationships are one of the most important determinants to happiness.
A large component to overall happiness is confidence in one’s self. Confidence makes you feel empowered. Exercising can be challenging, and overcoming any barriers in your way will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Whether you’re making walking everyday a habit, or you’re biking every weekend, accomplishing a fitness goal will boost your confidence and motivate you to keep at it. Start small with fitness goals so you can achieve them without pushing yourself too hard. Build up overtime to increase stamina and confidence.
The correlation between physical activity and happiness is definitely there. From the endorphins released during a run to the feeling of connection when taking a group class, there are many ways to get happiness out of exercise. You don’t have to climb to the top of a mountain or run a 5k marathon to get a sense of accomplishment from your workout. Do what is most comfortable to you and what you will get the most enjoyment out of. That’s the most important part, isn’t it?