Ever drag yourself to the gym, that Yoga class you signed up, or a circuit you planned on doing at home?

Finally, you start, and you realize you are actually starting to feel better. The workout ends and you feel a sense of accomplishment, are happy, energetic, and sure glad you went through with the workout!

For several decades researchers have been looking into a connection between exercise and your brain. One thing that everyone has concluded from these studies is that exercise boosts your mood because it essentially changes your brain. There are dramatic effects that have been observed that happen both during and after exercise.

This is all due to a release of chemical messengers in the brain – norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, endocannabinoids, and most of all endorphins, or what is often referred to as our “feel good hormones”. When this happens, these chemicals can interact with opiate receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, lighten the mood, release stress, and trigger an overall positive feeling in the body which we associate with a “runner’s high”, or “euphoric” feeling. While the mood boosting effects can be short lived, there are long term benefits as well. In short, studies are showing that exercise may generate new neurons in the hippocampus, this is a region of the brain associated with learning, memory, and emotions.

Along with the cognitive benefits, below are many more reasons how exercising has a positive impact on your life:

  • Improves sleep
  • Helps with anxiety
  • Reduces stress
  • Helps with self esteem
  • Reduces feeling of depression
  • Increases energy levels
  • Improves flexibility and mobility
  • Strengthens your heart
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves response to insulin
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Builds bones
  • Improves immune system
  • Reduces body fat
  • Promotes healthy aging