In Dr. Wendy Suzuki’s book, Healthy Brain, Happy Life, she takes us on her life journey of improvement by performing different types of exercises. Suzuki explored the idea that exercise could decrease anxiety and lower stress levels.
What makes exercise improve your mood?
Exercise releases dopamine in the brain and causes mood improvement. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in the brain and gives off that “high” feeling after exercise. The neurotransmitter is associated with the factors of reward in your brain such as happiness and hunger. Dopamine levels are increased when positive energy is included within the exercises regiment such as encouraging words from an instructor or even positive reinforcement.
Workouts such as Yoga and Pilates focus more on the mind and soul are positive thinking classes where the instructor encourages you to become one with your body. Much like the positivity in yoga, runners often get a “runner’s high” when their endorphins are released after a run.
Exercising every day establishes a sense of routine for your brain. Your body becomes used to waking up and throwing on running shoes or pulling out a yoga mat. Since exercise is a great way to relieve stress, starting your day out with exercise can allow you to relieve the tension before you start your day. Exercise can become addictive when you go everyday and often it is okay; however, it is good idea to take a day off during the week and allow your body to rest and recover.
The concept of brain plasticity is discussed in Dr. Suzuki’s book as she mentions that the brain can change based on your environment. Although humans are creatures of habit, there is a part of your brain just waiting to react to change, thus plasticity. As your body becomes accustomed to a workout routine and the release of dopamine, your stress level will continue to decrease and you will adapt to and desire the routine. In addition to decreased stress, the increased production of dopamine will improve cognition and clarity of thought.
Does exercise improve your mood?
Although studies are unclear as to what types of exercise specifically improve our moods, it is found within controlled studies that exercise improves brain function, decreases stress, and decreases the chance of dementia. Cognitive tasks and focus are two main results of exercise impacting your mood as they make it easier to go throughout your day with a little less stress and a little more focus.
Is exercise a part of your daily routine? Comment below and tell us what you do to keep your mood bright and happy.
Do you want to make exercise part of your daily life and aren’t sure how? Contact Joy or Joyce here at KCP and they can create personalized workouts just for you.
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Carol B. September 9, 2015