Your vitality levels can really change if you exercise frequently. Discover how to reap the most rewards.
Real “runner’s high” results from other forms of exercise as well.
Feeling lethargic, fatigued, and sleepy? Do you need more vigor to complete your to-do list? Instead of putting off your alarm or drinking a few additional glasses of coffee, go to the gym to work up a sweat. Exercise has two advantages for your vitality level, says Neil Paulvin, DO, a regenerative medicine physician with a private office in New York City. Exercise improves your overall health and well-being by improving both your body’s fitness and your mood.
The Physical Benefits of Exercise That Boost Energy
Exercise alters the body physiologically in ways that make you feel energetic, including:
1. Increases endorphin levels
Dr. Paulvin explains that endorphins are neurochemicals, or hormones, in the brain that are created and stored in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. When you exercise, especially when you push yourself with moderate-intensity activities like aerobic exercise, moderate-intensity exercise, and weight training, your body produces these hormones. Endorphin levels increase an hour after activity, according to research. According to Paulvin, this post-exercise endorphin release also aids in pain relief, stress reduction, and an increase in general well-being. Running “runner’s euphoria”
2. Boosts heart health
Your arterial health will improve as a result of exercise, giving you more stamina throughout the day. The American Heart Association advises engaging in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week (such as tennis, water classes, and fast strolling) for general cardiovascular health.
3. Improves sleep
Frequent exercise can improve your sleep quality, which will make you feel more rested and energised all day. A research in the Journal of Sleep Research examined individuals with insomnia who completed at least 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity physical exercise. Researchers discovered that this level of physical exercise was linked to both improved happiness and a notable decrease in the intensity of insomnia symptoms.
4. Sharpens focus
After a decent exercise, our mental energy is increased and we feel more prepared to take on the world because endorphins have increased our bodily energy. A study of healthy adults 65 years and older found that engaging in three sessions per week of moderate physical activity over the course of 12 weeks improved cognitive performance, including memory. The study was published in the September 2021 issue of Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health. Another investigation of senior citizens revealed that 24 weeks of modest aerobic exercise enhanced brain function, including concentration. This research was released in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. A study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills found that a period of high-intensity training enhanced cognitive function with regard to focus and short-term memory tasks. Some researchers have hypothesized that greater intensity exercises might not have the same beneficial impact.
The Psychological and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise That Boost Mood
Being more energetic improves your attitude. However, there are a few other ways that moving your body through exercise can help your psychic and mental health as well.
Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine, says that exercise frequently enhances alertness and brain performance over the long run, which can improve one’s happiness.
A more upbeat attitude is achieved, according to her, by reducing tension and anxiety levels as well as by working up a sweat. Dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals involved in mood maintenance, are released as a result of exercise, according to Dr. Saltz. Additionally, it reduces the hormone cortisol’s production, which rises when we experience long-term worry. Our brain cells benefit from these hormonal shifts, which enhance cognitive performance and lift happiness.
Regular exercise is linked to a reduced prevalence of melancholy, according to a large amount of study. Exercise is linked to the release of neurotransmitters and proteins known as neurotrophic factors, which cause nerves to form new connections, potentially enhancing brain function and possibly contributing to the reduction of depressive symptoms, according to a review article published in the journal Neuropsychobiology.
Additionally, getting out of the home and socializing with others—like going to the gym, the park, or joining a group exercise class—can help you feel less isolated. It’s important not to overlook loneliness because it can have a detrimental impact on our health and wellbeing.
The chance of early mortality, dementia, incident coronary heart disease, and stroke has been linked to social isolation, according to a summary of research that was released in February 2020 in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Which Workouts Boost Energy the Most?
Your energy level will increase with any physical action that increases your heart rate, blood movement, and endorphin release. Your heart will be strengthened by good cardiovascular activity, which will also increase your endurance.
Any aerobic exercise is advised by Saltz to improve your vitality and happiness. “Ideally, the exercise you are doing would increase your heart rate considerably for at least 30 minutes,” advises the expert. The effects of doing this three to four times per week are mildly calming.
Studies support the advantages of fitness for melancholy. In adult patients (ages 18 to 65) with a clinical diagnosis of major depression, aerobic exercise was found to be a successful antidepressant intervention, according to an analysis of research published in the January 2019 edition of Depression and Anxiety.
But lower-intensity exercise, like meditation, has also suggested positive effects on happiness. According to research, yoga may help lower worry and melancholy. Yoga may be a potent complementary treatment strategy to pharmacotherapy and counseling, according to an analysis of research that was released in October 2019 in the Journal of Yoga, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation.
According to a review published in Frontiers in Psychology, regular, light exercise is still linked with reduced levels of depression.
And a study that looked at data from 1.2 million adults aged 18 and older in 2011, 2013, and 2015 and was published in September 2018 in the journal the Lancet Psychiatry found that people who reported exercising also reported having fewer days of poor mental health in the month before the survey, and that all types of exercise (including running, cycling, walking, gym exercise, winter sports, and others) were linked to a lower overall mental health burden.
The bottom line is that it really depends on you and what you enjoy doing. “It is best to start with an action a person enjoys when attempting to incorporate exercise to your routine for improved mental health,” advises Saltz. You’re most apt to stay with that, she claims.
Choose a task that excites you and sounds like enjoyment. Enjoy a game of tennis, hoops, or football. Join a buddy for a jog, a stroll, or a bike trip. Spend some alone time listening to music or watching your favorite TV program while working out at the gym on the bike or stair climber. Hike or bring your kids to a park where they can play outside.
A local club likely offers a variety of aerobic exercise programs, including spinning, kickboxing, and other martial arts. The secret is to discover an activity you love, stay with it, and experience the long-lasting advantages of a regular exercise schedule. And if you are having trouble forming the routine or are unsure of what to do, consider group courses, working with a trainer, and exploring what local recreation options are available.