The young man asked his father “What I the secret of life, father?” His father replied one simple word:”Happiness.” So how do we ensure that we are doing everything in our power to achieve and maintain happiness? Well, medical researchers have proven the link between exercise and happiness, so increasing your exercise can have a real impact on your level of well being.
Appearance and Self esteem
In a world pre-occupied with material possessions, image and beauty, we find ourselves constantly striving for a better self image. One of the most important links to depression and low self esteem; is poor self image. Exercise allows us to live a healthier life by reducing our weight, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving our health and promoting a better self image. This self image in turn increases your self esteem, improving your quality of life, confidence and as a result, happiness.
Endorphins and the runner’s high
Endor-what? Endorphins are hormones that are released by the pituitary gland in the hypothalamus (part of the brain); these natural hormones boost energy levels, increase immune response, postpone aging effects and bind to opioid receptors in the lungs to alter the processes effecting pain, and the emotional response to pain. Have you ever heard the phrase “a runner’s high”, this phrase was coined due to the endorphin release during prolonged exercise that can lead to the pseudo ‘high’ or feeling of happiness. Endorphins are known as the ‘good vibe hormones’ of our body and increase levels of other substances such as noradrenalin and catecholamine which have positive effects on both our bodies and our minds.
Memory and Learning effects
One of the most amazing effects of regular exercise is ‘Neurogenesis’, or the creation of new neurons in the brain. This enhances memory and in turn can increase learning potential, combating many degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The increase in serotonin levels directly linked to physical exercise has mood altering factors and in turn improves our outlook on life. The increased serotonin levels and increase neuron activity has been directly linked in many studies to assist in treating depression and mental illness. So, it can easily be said that exercise does indeed promote a healthy body, and mind.
Living a long and happy life is sometimes easy said than done, especially in the stressful, modern world we live in. A healthy diet, an active social life, having a great family and regular exercise are definitely the key to a successful outcome. There are some things in life we cannot change, but staying active with a regular exercise routine is certainly not one of them. So do yourself a favor and chase the runner’s high.
Creative Commons photo by lululemon athletica
Isaac Sanger writes for Cascade Healthcare Solutions, an online seller of thousands of medical products from wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators.