Feeling Good: How Regular Physical Exercise Boosts Your Mood and Overall Well-being
Physical fitness and mental well-being are closely linked. Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase overall feelings of well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the ways in which physical fitness can improve your mood and the scientific evidence supporting these benefits.
One of the most well-established ways in which physical fitness improves mood is through the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Exercise has been shown to increase endorphin production, leading to a "runner's high" or a sense of euphoria and well-being. This effect is thought to be one of the reasons that exercise is often used as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders (O'Connor, Herring, & Caravalho, 2016).
In addition to the endorphin effect, regular exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are major contributors to poor mood and mental health problems, and exercise has been shown to be an effective way to reduce these symptoms. Studies have found that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and are less likely to experience anxiety symptoms (Damasio, 2018).
Exercise also has a positive impact on mood by helping to improve overall physical health and self-esteem. When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals that help to repair and build muscle, improve cardiovascular health, and increase overall energy levels. These physical benefits can lead to improved self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment, which in turn can improve mood. Studies have found that regular exercise is associated with higher levels of self-esteem and better body image (Kremer, 2018).
Lastly, physical fitness also improves mood by providing a sense of social connectedness. Exercise is often done in group settings such as gyms, sports teams, or running clubs, which can provide opportunities for social interaction and support. Studies have found that people who exercise with others are more likely to stick with it and experience improved mood than those who exercise alone (Kang, 2017).
In conclusion, physical fitness has a positive impact on mood and mental well-being. Regular exercise can improve mood by releasing endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety, improving overall physical health and self-esteem, and providing a sense of social connectedness. If you are looking to improve your mood, consider incorporating regular exercise into your routine.
Damasio, H. (2018). Exercise and mood: A review of the mood and cognitive effects of physical activity. Journal of health psychology, 23(11), 1463-1472.
Kang, J., & Lee, S. (2017). The effects of social support on physical activity and exercise adherence. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, 13(3), 115-121.
Kremer, J., & Weber, M. (2018). The relationship between physical activity and self-esteem: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of sport and health science, 7(2), 107-114.
O'Connor, P. J., Herring, M. P., & Caravalho, A. (2016). Exercise for depression. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (9), CD004366.