Exercise and Positive Moods
Earlier in the week, my pondering question was about psychotic diseases. But recently my thoughts have wandered to something different..why does exercise make you feel better? On Monday afternoon I tried this class called Bikram yoga, where you are in a room of 100+ degrees, and you are supposed to calmly do yoga. For the first hour I was loving it. The heat was making sweat slide down my body, from the tip of my chin all the way down my stomach and legs. The yoga positions were strange contortions that reminded me of pretzels and licorice, and my body was so slippery it took so much strength to keep the positions. After the class was over, walking into the fresh outside air felt so incredibly rejuvinating, and I was filled with this immense energy. About an hour later, I went to a Zumba class at my gym. It was the first one I had attended in two months, and I was worried after yoga and a long break, I would have lost all my rythym and endurance. But I surprised myself. I was able to roll my hips at high speed, keep my arms and legs in unison during the merengue, and stay on the tips of my toes during Kumbia. I kept up the entire time and even added my own moves into some of the dances. After an hour of this, I still felt incredibly energized.
About two days before that I had decided that it was time for me to go running. I walked slowly onto the tredmill and stared at the "quick start" button until I finally got enough guts to press it. The mat started rolling slowly under my feet, and I increased to speed to a steady run. At first it felt great, like I could keep running for another hour, but after only 12 minutes, I felt like I was going to die. But I kept running, and even increased my speed to a sprint. After 20 minutes total, I was ready to fall to my knees, but I still felt an immense sense of accomplishment. When I got into the pool, my body immediately felt released. The water was cold against my aching limbs, and my body suddenly felt light. All of the sudden my energy was even stronger, and I completely forget about my aches and pains from before. So is it different activities that make us feel more energized, or is it how we feel about the activities? And why does it improve our mood?
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. In addition, after exercising you may feel a sense of accomplishment and your muscles will relax deeper because of the workout – easing tension and strain.
Exercise and Improving Your Mood
Participating in intense exercise has been shown to stimulate the brain, which causes the release of hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are generally known as a hormone that suppresses the feeling of pain and heightens an individual’s sense of well-being.
How Does Exercise Improve My Mood?
So obviously it is the release of hormones that make our moods improve after exercising. But is there a specific type of exercise that works better at this than others? Personally, I think different exercises affect my moods in different ways. For example, when I do yoga, I come out of the class feeling my tension roll from my bones, and my worried thoughts placed somewhere else for a moment. On the other hand, when I run, I feel like I actually accomplished something and instead of being relaxed, I feel stronger and more in control of myself.
Cardiovascular exercise and aerobics are great for creating the intensity required for a mood-raising chemical high...Yoga has been shown in studies to reduce tension and stress while improving mood.
Exercise and Improving Your Mood