7 Reasons Exercise is Key to Happiness

  • Date: 20 March 2016
  • Category: General
Male and female after workout outside

Today marks the third annual ‘International Day of Happiness’ since it was decreed by the United Nations in late-2012. At the YMCA, we’re all about improving the health and happiness of others, so we’ve decided to take a look at seven ways regular exercise can make you happy:

1. Regular exercise releases dopamine into the brain
By now, everyone has probably heard of the term ‘dopamine’. For those that haven’t, it describes the chemical that is released into our brain that is a catalyst for producing happy feelings. Research has shown exercise to be one of the best things you can do to trigger this release, making the equation simple: more exercise = more happy feelings.

2. Increases energy levels
Life can get hectic, and some can find it tough to fit exercise into their busy schedules. But those who exercise regularly will often leave a workout feeling MORE energized than when they started. Exercise can give individuals the energy to fit more into their schedules, rather than less.

3. Reduces stress
There are countless studies that link increased exercise to reduced levels of stress. Many individuals turn to exercise to alleviate stress from the workplace, home or elsewhere.

4. Increases confidence
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of setting goals for yourself, sticking to the task and achieving them. You’ll be amazed at how your self-esteem levels and confidence in your appearance can improve over time due to regular exercise.

5. Improves immune system
No-one likes getting sick. Regular exercise can increase an individual’s immune system, therefore reducing the likelihood of illness – which is good news for everyone.

6. Reduces risk of depression or anxiety
There is a significant link between lack of physical activity and mental illness. Although there are many other factors at play here, regular exercise can provide individuals with a purpose, and can act as a distraction from other things in their life.

7. Make friends
Exercising with others can be extraordinarily worthwhile. Meeting new people, making friends and pushing others to achieve their goals are just some of the rewards on offer to exercise communities.