Why Do We Feel Happy After We Exercise?
Updated: Jun 3
We've all felt it: the big smile crawling onto our faces at the end of a workout, coupled with the urge to giggle or to announce "I AM THE QUEEN/KING OF THE WORLD!".
But what exactly makes us feel that way?
RELEASE OF CHEMICALS
Endorphins ("feel-good" hormones), serotonin and dopamine ("happiness" neurotransmitters), norepinephrine ("alert" neurotransmitter) and BDNF ("brain fertilizer") are all released through exercising.
The combination of these 5 chemicals will instantly boost your mood, and has been shown to help with anxiety and depression.
REDUCTION OF STRESS
In addition to releasing the chemicals above, exercise will also reduce cortisol and adrenaline in the body - chemicals which, when present in high doses, have both been linked to stress.
SO WHAT SHOULD MY WORKOUT LOOK LIKE?
While studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise can boost someone's mood for up to 12 hours, in order to get long-lasting effects, you should have a consistent routine that incorporates cardio, muscular conditioning, and flexibility training into it.
That means 150 mins of vigorous or 300 mins of moderate cardio activity, 3+ muscular conditioning occasions, and 3-4 stretching occasions every week.
Your body is your temple - treat it well!