Boost your mood and feel good with exercise!

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

We all know that exercise has many different benefits to our overall health, but did you know it can actually boost your mood? When you’re feeling down in the dumps, going for a jog is probably the last thing on your mind, but if you find yourself stressed, anxious, or generally feeling blue, exercise may just be the thing you need!

Exercise boosts endorphins

When you work out, your body produces endorphins which are basically feel-good chemicals. They produce a morphine-like feeling in your body, often referred to as the ‘runners high’ after exercise. Regular exercise also boosts the production of the happy hormone serotonin. It can drastically improve your overall mood and reduce your perception of pain. The more often you exercise = the more endorphins that are released = the happier you’ll be. You may feel like lying on the couch and watching TV, but believe me – you will be thankful that you got off your butt and did a workout instead.

Exercise reduces stress

Exercise has many benefits for reducing overall stress levels. First of all – the endorphins improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Secondly, exercise acts as a great distraction from the stressors in your life. When you exercise, you are focusing on your technique, your breathing, your thirst, the fatigue in your muscles, and telling yourself that you can keep going. It allows you to channel your stress or frustration into something practical and positive, so you aren’t left dwelling on it- think of it as ‘blowing off steam’. Tyrosine and Magnesium can both help to reduce stress.

Exercise improves confidence

When you get into a good workout regime, you will start to notice that you can run faster, exercise for longer, lift heavier weights or get through a workout more easily than before. You will also start to shed excess weight, build muscle and tone up. You might even make friends at the gym, on your walking track or in your yoga class. All of these things are great for building your confidence!

Exercise motivates you to eat healthier

When you exercise regularly, you are more inclined to reach for healthier food choices- after all, you want the sweat and pain to be worth it right? Processed foods contain sugar and additives that are inflammatory to the brain and can contribute to a low mood. When you start to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and lean proteins into your diet, your brain is nourished with wonderful nutrients. This can really make a difference to your overall mood! You may also find yourself going for a walk or doing some yoga poses in your loungeroom, instead of reaching for the tub of ice cream!