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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Using Fitness to Find Happiness

Dec 6, 2010

Use fitness to become happier. Science backs up the premise that regular exercise actually boosts your mood and makes you a more joyful person. When you workout intensely, physiological changes take place in your body that increase a feeling of happiness.

Cortisol and Happiness

When you are stressed out, feel frustrated, suffer from fears, have anxieties or get angry, your body reacts by producing cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that damages the body’s organs over time. When you exercise intensely, you decrease the cortisol amounts in your body, leading to greater health and happiness.

Feeling Good with Endorphins

Another powerful reaction of the body to exercise is the release of endorphins. Endorphins stimulate the brain and numb pain. They create feelings of elation and contentment. They lower your stress. If you want to feel happier, exercise!

Using Fitness to Feel Better

Although any amount of exercise is better than no exercise, if you want to use fitness to feel happier, be sure to integrate activities that increase your heart rate. The positive chemical changes leading to greater happiness are more likely to take place if you engage in activities such as heavy weightlifting, running, jogging, swimming, cycling and any activity that challenges you on a cardiovascular level.

Studies show that exercising regularly for about two weeks creates these chemical changes on a regular basis, causing you to crave exercise. When you are first starting out with exercise or getting back into it after weeks of downtime, remember that the first couple of weeks might be hard. After that, your motivation will naturally increase.

Green Exercise and Happiness

When using fitness to increase your happiness level, choose activities that you enjoy. If doing the same routine at the gym is boring, try green exercise. Green exercise is any physical activity performed outdoors. Cycling through a hilly location, hiking through a trail or even doing strenuous gardening work in your backyard are all examples of green exercise.

The impact of green exercise is that it involves and enlivens all of your senses. The sound of crashing waves while running on a beach, the view of greenery while jogging or the scent of beautiful flowers while riding your bike can all contribute to increasing your sense of inner calm.

Working Out with Others

Fitness activities can also create greater happiness by increasing your interaction with others. Training for a marathon with a friend, playing on a company soccer team or going to the gym several times a week with a close relative are all ways to get both the physiological and emotional benefits of regular fitness activities.

Using fitness to feel more joy in your life is an effective strategy. Choose fitness activities that you enjoy and do them with people you love. Mix things up as much as possible. Variety helps to increase enjoyment. Give yourself at least two weeks to get hooked on exercise and to experience the chemical benefits. Exercise outdoors from time to time to let your senses experience natural beauty.

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