People who exercise a lot are naturally going to be in better physical condition than those that don’t – that’s obvious. If you lead an active lifestyle, regardless of your diet, you’re going to be healthier overall than someone who does not exercise much or at all. We all know that exercising is good for us physically. But did you know that exercise has incredible mental benefits as well?
Not only will an active lifestyle make you feel better physically, but it will make you feel better mentally! Have you ever been a little depressed and gone for a nice long run? Did you feel better afterwards? Your muscles and joints may have been sore, but your mental health and attitude should have improved too! It’s natural to feel good mentally after a workout. That sense of accomplishment we get from completing a five mile run or climbing to 10,000 feet makes us feel good about ourselves and is a way to remind us what we’re capable of. This is one of the mental effects of exercise, but this effect is more ingrained in us culturally than it is natural.
There is, however, a very natural component to why we feel good after a demanding physical workout. When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals called Endorphins. Endorphins are produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland and serve many functions in our body after a workout, such as reducing pain. They also give us a sensation unlike any other we can attain naturally.
The feeling is actually said to be something like what morphine does to us, so it’s no coincidence that the phrase “runner’s high” came to be. Have you ever left a hot yoga class and felt like you’re floating or walking on air? We are able to achieve a state of perceived euphoria, just by working out.
Because of the way our bodies react to exercise and how our Endorphins get released when we work out, staying fit is not only great for our bodies but also great for the soul. So the next time you feel stressed or just a little down, go get high on some endorphins with a solid workout. You’ll feel much more at ease afterwards and your body and mind will thank you for it!