Boost your mood with a bit of exercise

Editorial 1st of June Health
Mood is an emotional state. Moods are less specific, intense and less likely to be triggered by a particular stimulus or event, as opposed to emotions, feelings, or affects. Moods are typically described as having either a positive or negative valence. In other words, people usually speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood.

How much would you give for a happiness drug without any health or legal consequences? The good news is that nature has built the answer into our own human body. Regular exercise serves as a mood booster and it happens to be good for most people. You have probably heard about the euphoria athletes often feel after sustained exertion, and perhaps you have felt your mood change for good after an intense workout or a brisk walk. However, the exercise high it does not actually depend on long workouts. The best results come from doing a little every day.

Usually, the biggest euphoria happens when starting a new workout regimen. This may explain the enthusiasm of starting a workout routine and why so many of us fail and stop after a few months. As the happiness effect declines, people are no longer biologically connected to workout and only the highly motivated ones continue. But fortunately studies suggest that enrolling in the same routine enhances the feeling of happiness as well so that the person working out daily can expect a mood boost because the brain becomes sort of addicted to the expectation of the regular release of endorphins and other mood-enhancing biochemicals. Thus, daily workouts are the best to maximize the happiness effect. Weekend warriors and people who exercise once in a while are less likely to feel a mood effect, and, at the same time, they do not workout regularly enough to form a biological habit. For many people, an effective solution is to alter the expectation of what a workout should be. Rather than practising intense exercising when energy and schedule allow, try to go for a 20 - 30 minutes per day of moderate activity such as walking or better brisk walk. If you are a beginner or you think you do not have that time, start with a 10 minutes daily session instead. Who does not have that time? Do not make excuses! the point is to pre-establish a daily exercise habit that trains the brain to respond to the feeling of happiness and the long-term health effects. Once your brain associates workouts with happiness and health, you will be wondering how you did manage to stay that long without this lovely habit.


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