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Working Out for 30 Minutes Can Instantly Make You Happier

30 minutes of exercise can make you happier


What triggers happiness when we exercise?

We hear a lot of people talking about how "endorphins are released" when doing exercise, but is that all there is to it? It sounds good, but turns out there’s more going on in the brain than we might realise.

When you start exercising, your brain sees this as stress. Your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or running from it. So protect itself, and you, a protein called BDNF (Brain‐ Derived Neurotrophic Factor) is released. This BDNF both protects and repairs your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising.

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, is released in your brain. Your endorphins minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.

Here’s what it looks like:

Brain After Exercise

So, BDNF and endorphins are the reasons exercise makes us feel so good. Slightly scary fact ‐ they have a very similar and addictive behavior to morphine, heroin or nicotine, but thankfully it’s actually good for us!

So how can we make sure we’re getting the most of the happiness boosting benefits from exercise? The key is, don’t do more, but focus on when and how often. Studies have found that daily exercise is best, but it doesn’t have to be a long work out. The first 20 minutes of moving around provide most health benefits. You get prolonged life, reduced disease risk — all of those things come in in the first 20 minutes of being active.

even more interestingly, the increase of the BDNF proteins in your brain from exercise act not only as a mood enhancer, but bizarrely the effects are similar to drug addiction. So when you start exercising, the feeling of euphoria is the highest. "The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time." (McGovern)

So this means that if you have never exercised before or haven’t for a while, your happiness gains will be the highest if you start now! What are you waiting for?

#take30minutes

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