Exercise tends to have a major impact on our mood. Science believes that exercise might be one of the most effective and natural antidepressants. Besides treating depression, it could keep several mental health issues at bay such as anxiety, mood disorders, or sleep-wake disorders.
Exercise is perfect for naturally helping treat many mental health illnesses. But, once cured, it’s important to keep up with a regular workout regimen. Although the exact nature of the link between happiness and exercise is debated, we do know some things for sure.
- People who maintain a regular workout regimen are less prone to experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression compared to those who don’t work out at all.
- Moderate exercise might treat clinical depression without treatment.
- People who have responded partially to antidepressants can quicken their recovery with regular exercise.
- 4 months of a regular workout routine can be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression.
- Aerobics like walking, running, cycling, strength training (like weight lifting), and pilates-inspired exercises such as Lagree are great for treating depression and elevating mood.
Here’s what science tells us about exercise-induced happiness and a general sense of well-being”
Exercises Releases Happiness-hormones
We know by now that exercise releases endorphins; the neurotransmitters that make you feel good about life. Chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, endocannabinoid, and adrenaline are all linked with feelings of happiness, confidence, capability, and less stress. It may even lower the pain perception.
Exercise may also help with nerve cell growth and better cellular function; which to say it’s good for your brain.
Strengthens Human Bond and Social Connections
People with strong human connections and social life tend to be more positive, motivated, and upbeat. Movement itself naturally primes a social-connection response. That’s how brain chemistry works.
When the body gets moving and you engage your muscles, it changes the brain chemistry. You find it easier to connect more easily with others.
Social pleasures like sharing a smile, exchanging a friendly hello, or a high-five after an intense workout are great for your social chemistry. Whether you exercise outdoors or in a gym, there’s always a chance to share a hug or a laugh.
A Natural Confidence Booster
Confidence is the key to feeling happy, empowered, and in charge of your life. And, exercise is one of the finest ways to induce encouragement and confidence. When you challenge yourself to finish a tough full-body workout, it gives you a sense of accomplishment. It activates the brain’s reward mechanism.
Finishing something challenging makes you more in control of yourself. You feel empowered to do things and more optimistic about things in general.
Exercising Has An Effect Similar to Meditation
Science tells us that physical exercise has a similar effect on our mood the way meditation does. This might be particularly good for people dealing with anxiety and depression.
When you exercise, your brain reaches the same state it does when you meditate. There’s expanded awareness and a heightened sense of alertness. You live deeply within the present moment which is what meditation is. There’s a spontaneous shift to a meditative mindset without any effort.
The Mind-Body Connection is a belief that the development, cause, and outcome of most physical illnesses are rooted within the interaction between social, psychological, and biological factors. It’s common knowledge that drastic life events like lay-off, home foreclosure, divorce, or the death of a child could negatively affect our health.
Even everyday events like rushing through traffic, the stress of a deadline, interpersonal conflicts, and unrealistic self-expectations could cause the same effect. People who deal with chronic stress generally develop stomach ulcers, diarrhoea, constipation, shortness of breath, panic attacks, fatigue, migraines, and sleep disorders.
The belief says that if the mind can make you ill, it can make you healthy as well. So, by practising things like meditation, deep breathing, laughter exercise, and physical workout; you can reverse many physical illnesses.
The Science Behind ‘Mind-Body Connection
The brain is often called ‘the human supercomputer’. It’s a highly complex and remarkable organ. But, it doesn’t work in isolation from the rest of the body parts. The two work in collaboration with each other.
Scientific studies are learning more about how neurotransmitters aka chemical messengers cause different emotions and have physical effects on the body. For example, when you’re agitated, angry, nervous, or even excited; your heart rate goes up and your blood pressure rises.
Emotions even affect our appetite and sleep patterns. The research into this ‘mind-body connection’ was started by David Spiegel, around 30 years ago. He conducted studies on women suffering from breast cancer. The results found that women who participated in regular mindfulness exercises reported less pain and a better quality of life.
They even lived longer compared to participants who only received medical care. Since then, myriad studies have tried to understand the link between physical wellbeing and emotional health.
Some of the best exercises for boosting brain health are –
- Walking: This simple exercise gets your heart pumping. Also, when you go out in the sun, you get natural Vitamin D. It’s good for bone health but also keeps depression away.
- Aerobics and Weight Training: Both are excellent forms of cardio and release feel-good hormones. A combination of both such as dance classes followed by a short weight lifting session is great for elevating one’s mood.
- Low-impact exercises like Lagree Fitness: Pilates, yoga, and pilates-inspired exercises like Lagree Fitness improve blood flow to areas that hold the most amount of tension. By stretching your muscles and controlled breathing, you can become more relaxed during the rest of your day. This helps to melt away stress and anxiety.
Lagree fitness is a wholesome body workout that was developed by Sebastian Lagree. Inspired by pilates, Lagree helps you achieve ideal body composition. This workout method focuses on all muscle groups with a major focus on form and posture.
Body composition is the amount of bone, muscle, fat, and other vital body parts. The Lagree method promotes lean muscle growth while also promoting fat loss. When you are physically healthy you have better self-control.
That means you tend to think better, eat better, and feel better. You also don’t engage in self-destructive behaviours like stress-eating or negative self-talk. Over time, this leads to better self-esteem, improved confidence, and elevated happiness.
This article was brought to you by Lagree Fit 415. Want to learn the benefits of low-impact exercise? Read our informative article here and dive into Lagree fitness! If you are based in San Francisco, sign-up for your first Lagree Fit 415 class here.