Physical Exercise and Its Effect on Mood

Have you ever been feeling down and in the dumps, and a friend or someone close to you told you to try some type of exercise or physical activity to help you feel better? You decide to give it a try and suddenly after the activity or exercise has ended you find yourself feeling better. Does physical activity/exercise really enhance your mood? Well evidence is mounting to prove that it does! To many the word physical activity/exercise is a bad or dirty word.

The thought of the heart beating fast, nasty sweat dripping everywhere, pain in parts of your body that you never knew existed and fatigue are all feelings associated with physical activity/exercise. However the results of physical activity/exercise promote the feeling of a good mood. The human brain triggers the release of chemicals that many call “Happy Chemicals,” after physical activity/exercise. Physical activity/exercise also adds positive contribution to ones physical physique, which will also enhance ones mood. Lastly, your heart rate increases, which causes the body to pump oxygen rich blood at faster rates.

During physical activity the brain triggers the release of endorphins from the pituitary gland. These endorphins or happy chemicals whose technical name is Serotonin and dopamine are responsible for euphoria. These happy chemicals promote a feeling of well-being also reduces pain by activating the brains opiate centers. Dr. James Blumenthal, a clinical psychologist at Duke University helped lead a research project that explored the mood-exercise connection. Through a series of trials and four testing Derek WilliamsPage 3 1/19/13 groups that included home-based exercise, supervised exercise, anti-depressant therapy, and placebo pills.

The mild stress caused by physical activity/exercise for patients with depression issues releases chemicals that cause pleasure and lessens the effects of depression. Subjects in the exercise groups had lower depression scores than their less active counterparts. Long term physical activity/exercise helps to also shape the physique. Observable results of better muscle tone, loss of body fat lead to a higher self-esteem. Higher self-esteem leads to one feeling good about them and how their body looks, which we all know how society has made people believe that you must be a certain size, or look, etc.

Individuals who feel good about themselves tend to be more productive, and maintain a healthy mental state. Physical activity/exercise is a great way to simply clear your mind by focusing on the activity at hand. You’ll also get a boost of confidence just knowing that you are doing something good for yourself, improving your life in some way. Combined, all of these factors help enhance your mood. Your body is an intricate machine whose cells need specific substances to perform functions. Cells need oxygen, which red blood cells carry through the body.

Physical activity/exercise causes your muscle cells to need oxygen at an accelerated rate. As a result your heart beats faster it causes your heart rate to increase and circulate super oxygenated blood at faster rates. This blood that is rich in oxygen allows for a quicker recovery and a greater level of productivity. Derek WilliamsPage 4 1/19/13 Now that we understand that physical activity/exercise does help enhance your mood, the next question is what needs to be done and how often does it need to be done. In order to get mood boosting effects, it’s important to work out consistently for about 30 minutes, 3-5 days a week.

According to the Mayo Clinic, even small sessions of 10-15 minutes a day could help boost moods short term. Weightlifting can be effective as an aerobic activity in elevating ones mood. So look to also add 2-3 days of weightlifting. If you are not challenging yourself, you will not get the mood boosting effect, so make sure you are doing something you are proficient at so that you can work harder. When you do something you’re good at you have a higher psychological sense of accomplishment. As I close, physical activity/exercise has been proven time and time again to improve health and physical fitness.

But it also plays a large role in reducing stress, enhancing mood, and increasing energy. Physical activity/exercise as stated earlier causes the brain to produce endorphins known as happy chemicals. They create a feeling of well-being and good mood. When involved on a regular basis in some type of physical activity/exercise, these chemicals have a very positive, natural effect on mood, the way we handle anxiety, and stress. Bundle that up with physical activity being a great outlet for frustration, daily annoyances, and concerns it makes sense that physical activity has a positive effect as well as enhancing ones mood.

So the next time you are feeling down, frustrated, or just having a bad day, pull out the gym shoes, the old sweat pants Derek WilliamsPage 5 1/19/13 and shirt, then grab a ball, jump rope, or head to the nearest workout facility and enhance your mood. References * Godwin, C. (2011, August 23). How to do blood flow exercises. Retrieved from http://www. livestrong. com/article/524753-how-to-do-blood-flow-exercises/ * Weir, K. (2011, December). The exercise effect. Retrieved from http://www. apa. org/monitor/2011/12/exercise. aspx * Arnold , K. (2011, September 1).

Does exercising affect your mood?. Retrieved from http://www. livestrong. com/article/527684-does-exercising-affect-your-mood/ * Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. (2011, July 23). Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/exercise/HQ01676 * Byrne, A. , & Byrne, D. G. (1993). The effect of exercise on depression,. Journal of Psychosematic Research, Vol. 37, pp. 565-574. * Holmes, L. (2010, March 18). How does exercise improve mental health? . Retrieved from http://mentalhealth. about. com/od/depression/a/howexercise. htm