We all know that exercise is good for our physical health, but did you know that it can also boost your mood and mental well-being? Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, or just want to feel happier and more relaxed, exercise can help you achieve that. In this post, I’ll explain how exercise affects your brain and mood, and share some tips on how to make exercise a regular part of your life.
How Exercise Affects Your Brain and Mood
Exercise has many benefits for your brain and mood, such as:
- Releasing feel-good chemicals. When you exercise, your brain produces endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and endocannabinoids. These are natural substances that can make you feel happy, calm, and euphoric. They can also reduce pain and inflammation in your body.
- Reducing stress hormones. Exercise can lower the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body. These are hormones that are released when you’re under stress or in danger. They can make you feel anxious, nervous, or irritable. By reducing these hormones, exercise can help you cope with stress better and feel more relaxed.
- Improving blood flow and oxygen. Exercise can increase the blood flow and oxygen to your brain. This can improve your cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, and learning. It can also protect your brain from aging and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Stimulating new brain cells. Exercise can stimulate the growth of new brain cells and connections in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for emotions, memory, and learning. It is also one of the areas that is most affected by depression. By increasing the size and activity of the hippocampus, exercise can enhance your mood and prevent or reverse depression.
How to Make Exercise a Regular Part of Your Life
Now that you know how exercise can improve your mood, you might be wondering how to start or maintain an exercise routine. Here are some tips to help you:
- Find an activity that you enjoy. The best exercise for you is the one that you like and can stick to. It doesn’t have to be something intense or complicated, and once you learn how to stay motivated to exercise, it just becomes a healthy habit. These activities can be anything that gets you moving and raises your heart rate, such as walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming, yoga, or gardening.
- Set realistic goals and track your progress. Having a clear goal and a way to measure it can motivate you to exercise more. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need to join a gym and can even get fit at home. For example, you can aim to walk 10,000 steps a day, do yoga, or resistance train with dumbbells. You can use a fitness tracker or an app to monitor your steps, distance, calories burned, heart rate, and other metrics.
- Schedule your workouts and make them a priority. Treat your exercise time as an important appointment that you can’t miss. Plan ahead when and where you will work out each week and put it on your calendar. Try to exercise at the same time every day to create a habit.
- Find a buddy or a coach. Having someone to exercise with or report to can make you more accountable and less likely to skip your workouts. You can ask a friend, a family member, or a co-worker to join you for a walk or a class. Or you can hire a personal fitness coach or sign up for an online fitness program that provides coaching and support.
Stay Motivated and Accountable with Future
One of the online fitness programs that I recommend is Future. Future.co is an app that matches you with one of the best personal trainers in the country who builds workouts just for you based on your goals, fitness level, and equipment availability. You get unlimited workouts delivered straight to your phone and constant feedback from your coach via text or video calls.
What I love about Future.co is that their coaches use a holistic approach to online personal fitness coaching with Future clients. They don’t just focus on the physical aspects of exercise but also on the mental and emotional ones. They help you overcome any barriers or challenges that might prevent you from exercising regularly such as lack of time, motivation, confidence, or support.
They also help you develop a positive mindset and attitude towards exercise by celebrating your achievements, encouraging you to have fun, and reminding you of the benefits of exercise for your mood and well-being.
I’ve been using Future for two years now and I’ve seen amazing results, not only in my body but also in my mood. I feel happier, calmer, more energetic, and more confident than ever before.
If you’re interested in trying Future for yourself, they have a special offer for my readers: For a limited time, your first month of Future is just $50! That’s a huge discount from their regular price of $150 per month.
I hope this post has inspired you to exercise more and improve your mood. Remember, exercise is not only good for your body but also for your mind and soul. So, get moving and get happy!