Skip to main content

Can Exercising Make You Happier?

Yes it can! In fact, studies show that just 10 minutes of physical activity per week can boost happiness. We're diving into the science and sharing mood-boosting workouts.

Photo of three women going for a walk.

The answer to that question is yes. Exercise can make you happier. Researchers have looked into the correlation between exercise and happiness for years. They have found that physical activity is a mood booster because of the way it alters the brain. We’ll dive a little deeper into that science in a moment.

First, we’d like to share a finding from a study that reviewed physical activity and happiness. It has been determined that as little as 10 minutes of physical activity per week will result in increased levels of happiness. So, the pressure is off. You don’t have to start training for a marathon anytime soon! Simply adding 10 minutes of activity to your day can help boost your mood. We’ll give you some ideas on how you can add activity to your day-to-day routine below. But before we do, let’s take a look at the science behind exercise and happiness.

The science behind why exercising can make you happier

In her TED Talk titled ‘The brain-changing benefits of exercise,’ neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki shares her personal experience with exercise and happiness. She found that exercise changes the brain which leads to increased energy and improved mood, memory, and attention.

Exercising can make you happier because of the mood-enhancing chemicals your brain releases. In fact, just one workout session will have an immediate effect. During physical activity, your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline which boosts happiness right away.

To see long-lasting effects, make working out part of your regular regimen. Your brain responds to exercise the same way a muscle would. The more you’re working out, the bigger and stronger your muscles get. The same is for the brain. Regular workouts change your brain for the better, including long-lasting increases of those good mood chemicals we talked about above.

The best kind of workouts for a mood boost

So, what kind of activity you should aim to do? Research shows that aerobic exercise is the best for happiness. This is because during aerobic exercise, your body releases a lot of endorphins. So think walking, biking, swimming, or running. We shared some fun outdoor activities in this article if that’s your thing. If you’re new to working out, we encourage you to start small. As we said above, just 10 minutes a week will improve your mood!

If you’re short on time, don’t feel like you need to add the gym to your schedule. Simply adding physical activity throughout your day is a great way to start. Here are some creative ways you can do so:

  • Stretch first thing when you wake up.
  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Park farther away in the parking lot.
  • Take breaks from work to move.
  • Move as you watch TV.
  • Set alarms to help you remember to get up and move.

Want some help with exercise and getting healthy? Get started with Profile by Sanford.

Hey! If you enjoyed these tips please consider sharing.