We’ve all had one of those days. Maybe you just aren’t feeling like yourself, or you are feeling down in the dumps or even a little sad. These are the days when it’s easy to skip your trip to the gym, to ignore the bag you’ve got packed with your workout gear, or to make up an excuse not to meet your workout partner for an evening run.
While it’s normal to feel this way occasionally, putting exercise on the back burner is probably not the best thing for you to do, especially on days like this. On these days especially, a good workout might be the best thing you can do to improve the way you feel. This is because exercise – whether it’s your favorite cardio class, a weight room workout or just a brisk walk in your neighborhood with friends – isn’t just about keeping yourself physically healthy. It can play a part in making you feel good as well. From stress relief to self care, workouts hit a lot of marks.
Let’s look at five different ways that exercise can help boost your mood and make you feel happier.
1. Exercise can improve your brain function
When most people think about the benefits of a good workout, they think about stronger muscles, a slimmer waistline and a healthier body. But it’s important to know that exercise can do good things for your brain as well. During exercise, blood flow increases everywhere in your body and your brain receives a stream of oxygenated blood. This makes your brain perform better.
One specific way workouts boost your brain power is the gene BDNF, which makes a protein known as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Exercise stimulates this protein production, which research has shown can lead to improved cognitive performance by helping to build brain cells and improving the transmission of nervous system signals in the brain. Because of studies that have centered on this, some clinicians are prescribing exercise to patients to help them improve brain function.
Exercise can also help train your brain to learn new things. Studies have shown that working out for even just 20 minutes can improve your memory and how your brain processes information. Exercise makes it easier for your brain to create new neuronal connections, which means embracing new kinds of workouts can actually improve how your brain functions. So whether it’s trying a new machine at the fitness center or learning a new move in dance class, approaching exercise in fresh ways can actually increase your brain power.
2. Exercise can boost positive social interaction
Sometimes when we think of exercising, we see it as a solo activity: how many reps of a certain weight we can do today, or mapping out how to achieve a personal best on a training run. But exercise can actually be a great way to increase your social interaction with others. Working out alongside a good friend or even someone you know in passing from your fitness center gives you a chance for conversation while you’re getting your heart rate up. This interaction can be a great mood booster. It can push you a little harder to complete your workout or might even make you a bit more competitive. Since you’re being social, remember to pack enough after-workout snacks to share. BodyKey by Nutrilite™ makes a line of delicious meal replacement bars and grab-and-go snacks that are great for a post-workout break.
3. Exercise leaves you feeling accomplished
On days when your work or personal life has left you feeling stressed out, it’s nice to know you can leave that all behind when it’s time for your workout. If you’re headed outside for a run, hopping on your bicycle or doing an intense circuit workout at your fitness center, it will feel good to set a specific goal such as time or miles reached, then enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you hit that goal.
Having a good workout and reaching a goal helps you feel successful. When you’ve had an especially challenging day, being able to control your workout and come away with a healthy win will feel good. Sometimes, the biggest challenge can be just getting started. A pre-workout snack that fuels your body can give you the jumpstart you need. One option is XS™ Intense Pre-Workout Boost, made with with a blend of rhodiola rosea, CarnoSyn®* beta alanine, and caffeine for increased energy and sharper focus.
4. Exercise increases oxygen flow
Because exercise increases the blood flow to all parts of your body, it also boosts the oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscles. This helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently, and reduces the hormone levels that can put extra stress on your heart. Increasing your body’s oxygen flow can have a positive effect even after your workout ends, leaving you feeling more clear-headed and giving you more energy to tackle other tasks throughout your day, research shows. But the benefits don’t end there. Working out also increases your body’s level of “good” cholesterol and can help lower your blood pressure.
5. Exercise increases endorphins in your body
The bottom line with exercise is that it just makes you feel good. Every time you work your body and get your heart rate up, your body releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins in your brain, which improves your mood. For example, some people have described feeling a “runner’s high” after a good workout – a feeling of euphoria that lasts well after the exercise has ended, leaving people feeling energized and with a positive outlook. Another way to boost energy levels after intensive training sessions are recovery foods and drinks such as XS™ Post-Workout Recovery. This blend of acerola cherry, tart cherry and Nutrilite™ brand approved turmeric and glucosamine can help your body rebound quicker so you feel better after working out.
So the next time you are about to get some exercise, know that you’ll get more benefits from it than just staying physically healthy. It’s a form of self-care that will give your brain a boost while raising endorphins and oxygen levels. It will also provide an opportunity to connect with others and experience a sense of accomplishment. The result will lift your mood and leave you feeling like you’re ready to take on the rest of your day.
*CarnoSyn® beta alanine is a registered trademark of Natural Alternatives International, Inc.
**Does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.