Research suggests a regular exercise program (for help, here’s the ultimate guide to making exercise a daily habit) can reinforce professional counseling or therapy in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and, in some conditions, can be as effective as antidepressant drugs.
What happens to our brains when we work out? Exercise increases blood flow to our brains and helps create new neural connections.
Exercise also strengthens our immune system by increasing the circulation of infection-fighting white blood cells throughout our bodies.
Happy Hormones of Exercise
Exercise also triggers the release of hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone.
• Endorphins are our body’s natural painkillers, and they decrease discomfort, increase pleasure, and boost self-confidence.
• Serotonin regulates our appetite, makes us sleep better, and lifts our mood.
• Dopamine signals the brain for reward and pleasure, which helps drive us to take action and strive towards our goals.
• Testosterone plays a vital role in metabolism, muscular growth, and libido. Low testosterone levels have been linked to depression and obesity.
And now, read some memorable quotes on exercise and happiness.
Quotes on Exercise And Happiness
• Sonja Lyubomirsky: Research demonstrates that exercise may be the most reliable happiness booster of all activities.
• John Ratey: Exercise increases the brain’s learning and memory capacities. People’s mood significantly increased after exercising.
• Tal Ben-Shahar: In essence, not exercising is like taking a depressant.
• Jorge Ruas: Exercise improves our health and can even prevent many diseases. Well-trained muscle produces an enzyme that purges the body of harmful substances.
• Arnold Schwarzenegger: Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.
• Carol Welch: Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.
• Plato: Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
• Charles Duhigg: Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.
• Michelle Obama: Exercise is really important to me – it’s therapeutic. So if I’m ever feeling tense or stressed or like I’m about to have a meltdown, I’ll… head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.
• Albert Einstein: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
• Scott Stoll: A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.
• Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
• Mark McGovern: One of the most exciting changes that exercise causes is neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons.
There is a lot that scientists have discovered about the brain science of happiness and exercise. Click the picture below to find out all about it ( you’ll be surprised to know it’s a lot more than just endorphins).
• • •
Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes popular science articles on happiness, positive psychology, and related topics.
• Our story: Happiness Project
√ If you enjoyed this, please share it on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn.