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How Exercise Makes Us Happier

We’ve all heard that exercise releases endorphins in the brain, but do we really know what that means? This article by Joe Wildrich on Buffer, which I actually found on Lifehacker, explains how exercise makes us happier. He then explains that it’s not about becoming a marathon runner, but engaging in just 20 minutes a day, before you start your day. Countless studies have shown that this is the most effective time in terms of fueling your brain which will help you focus and be more productive for the day to come.

How Exercise Makes Us Happier

Exercise For FocusIf you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and like things are clear after exercising.

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, are released in your brain. Your endorphins main purpose are this, writes researcher MK McGovern:

“These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.”

Continue reading on Buffer

Hopefully that has clarified how exercise makes us happier – it certainly did for me. It was great advice to make exercise a habit, and as Joel suggested, to actually put your gym clothes over your alarm clock, so it’s easier to actually do the exercise first thing in the morning, rather than put it off until the evening, or tomorrow, or the next day. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so stick it out for those 21 days and it’ll become a natural part of your life and feel amazing for it. 20 minutes every day, it’s really not that hard to fit in! I actually believe that our brains are half asleep when we don’t exercise regularly. If you think about how great you feel after exercise, how clear your mind becomes and how you feel you can tackle anything, I wonder how people can function at all without it.




  1. […] first method to boost your energy levels. It’s fascinating what happens to our brains when we exercise – we really can’t function effectively without it. Interesting to see ‘get some […]

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