Can You Exercise To Feel Good?
Studies repeatedly show that exercising is not only good for our physical health but you can exercise to feel good mentally.
When we start to exercise, our heart starts to beat faster. Our brain interprets the increased heart rate as part of a “flight-or-fight” response to an impending danger. To protect itself, and the rest of your body in preparation of the upcoming danger, it releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) along with endorphins.
Together they give us a feeling of euphoria often called “a runner’s high”.
The ‘Runner’s High’
The BDNF acts as a protectant and repair element to the neurons in your brain, and as a reset switch. The endorphins work to minimize the discomfort and block the feeling of pain that is associated with the impending “danger”.
It’s not just running that creates that “high”. Any form of exercise can create that feeling of happiness. And the “high” is not the only mental health benefit derived from exercising. Anxiety disorders and depression rates dropped dramatically in participants of an exercise study.
They physical benefits derived from exercising can also help with your own mental health. As you become more fit, self-confidence and self-esteem start to rise, making you feel better about yourself. An increase in fitness also tends to improve one’s health, which in turn increases our sense of well-being, thus making us even happier now that our physical health is on the right track.
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How Long Does It Take For Exercise To Feel Good?
So how how long does it take for exercise to feel good to reap the benefits of a runner’s high? According to several experts, it happens within the first 20 minutes of working out. The rest of the workout is for burning calories in the case of cardio, or building and toning muscles if doing strength training.
The other interesting part is the feeling is addictive – much the same as with morphine, heroine or nicotine – but only in a good way. In other words, the more you experience the high, the more you want to experience it again by exercising.
And like with other addictions, after a while you will need to do more to get the same euphoric feeling; if exercising just 20 minutes, you will have to bump it up to 25 or 30. In many cases you will be doing more than 20 in the first place, so you’ll get the benefit anyway.
Exercise For More Energy?
When done properly, exercising can actually leave you with more energy than when you started. Our bodies are very efficient machines; they only do as much work as necessary. If our energy demand is low, so will the production of energy to meet that demand.
Factors Determining Energy
Studies have shown there are four basic factors that determine energy levels:
- Hydration: During your exercise routine, drink about a cup of water every 20 minutes. Post-workout drink about 3 cups of water per pound of weight lost during your workout.
- Food: Eat something like some fresh fruit about 30 minutes to an hour before starting your training. It should be broken down and ready to use by the time you start working out.
- Intensity: More is not necessarily better. Exercises like yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, walking and even resistance training when done at a slow level, produce good results.
- Duration: Again, more is not better. Exercising for long periods of time – like 45 minutes to an hour at a time or more – doesn’t produce a decrease in fatigue as well as working out 20 to 30 minutes.
6 Daily Habits To Boost Your Energy Levels
Do you often feel too tired to exercise? Lifestyle choices, poor diet and a lack of physical activity all influence your energy levels. At one time or another, all of us can use a boost in our energy level. Because we are creatures of habit and function on bio-rhythms, getting into a daily routine of practicing certain habits will keep us going day-in and day-out. Download this Free Report that reveals 6 habits that should be part of your daily routine.