Couple at gym

Does Exercise Equal Happiness?


As I am pushing 40, it’s getting excessively more difficult to ignore my body as it’s giving me obvious signs that I am no longer in my 20s. Recently, I’ve been trying to do my best to get a bit more exercise throughout my day in order to stave off gaining weight. We’ve decided to make this a family experience, and my spouse and I have personal goals to achieve. During the last few weeks, I have noticed a profound difference in our moods since we began putting effort into retaining our once fit personas from a decade ago.

I have noticed that on days where we have extensive physical activity such as jogging or playing the Xbox Kinect for a half-hour straight our moods have been significantly increased. My spouse came home last night after work and was as hyper as our six-year old daughter with ADD. Since I like being happy, I decided to conduct a little research with everybody’s favorite tool for research and development – Google.

Using Endorphins – I already knew some of how the body uses endorphins to dull the pain receptors in your brain in order to endure strenuous physical activity. What I didn’t know was that this internal and natural component of your body has similar effects to that of morphine. That “runner’s high” that I’ve heard mentioned before is almost spot on as the euphoric sense and energized outlook on life is similar to freebasing a low-end drug.

Combating Depression – Many doctors suggest additional exercise for those who suffer from depression. Most of the people I know do this without a doctor’s prescription in order to get their mind off of the situation. In a sense, that is exactly what exercise is doing for your mental stability. Endorphins coursing through your brain improve your outlook on life and could help you balance your emotional state.

Self-Esteem Booster – Depression and low self-esteem can walk hand-in-hand quite easily. It is suggested that those who have low self-esteem problems should increase their physical activity throughout the week. As exercise creates a euphoric nature, you could focus your mind on the more positive aspects of your existence. This isn’t saying that running 10 miles if you’re truly feeling suicidal will cure you, but it could help you put things in a more positive perspective rather than ending your life.

Dealing with Stress – There are many people in the world that exercise in order to reduce stress levels naturally. It seems that getting your blood pumping during a 30-minute workout can be just as therapeutic as popping pills – only without the negative side effects. You may want to keep it in perspective, however. For many people, exercising when they feel stressed out would keep them on the tread mill permanently. Still, thirty minutes of exercise throughout the day can help keep your job intact.

Many people seem to believe that exercise is only for those who are out of shape. While my spouse and I can certainly attest to needing more activity, I am drawn to the feeling I get after I’ve sweated it out in front of the Xbox or spent 30 minutes deep cleaning my basement. It may be my imagination, but it feels like my daughters respond better to me on days that I exercise as well. Wouldn’t you like to be happier throughout your day?