A simple explainer of the link between working out and neurochemicals
If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or depressed, the good news is that exercising can help lift you out of it and make you happy. Exercise has a hugely beneficial effect on your brain because it helps to boost your energy, mood, motivation, focus, and even memory.
You don’t need to be a triathlete or do the kind of exercise that comes with its own drill sergeant. Even gentle exercise outside or at home for a few minutes can lift your mood by increasing the neurotransmitters or ‘happy chemicals’ in your brain. (Good news for all of us who struggle to find the time for exercise.)
How does it work?
There are three main neurotransmitters that play a significant part in your wellbeing and happiness, and whenever they run low you’re likely to feel low, too. As a very basic explanation: dopamine is responsible for keeping you motivated, serotonin helps reduce anxiety and improve your mood, and norepinephrine is responsible for helping your brain to respond to stress.
What should you do?
Try and fit in some time for either moderate aerobic activity that raises your heart rate, like walking, cycling, running or anaerobic exercises where you lift light weights to challenge your muscles more than your heart. Any of these activities will help getting these happy chemicals flowing freely.
How long should you keep going?
There’s no hard and fast rule, but you’ll be pleased to know that a moderate intensity has the best effect on lifting your mood and that anywhere from ten minutes to 30 minutes is enough time to ensure a happier you.
Exercise at least three times per week to keep a spring in your step, and a smile on your face! Need more motivation? Read up on the benefits of having a workout buddy by clicking here.
This Healthy Living article was developed by PepsiCo in partnership with the Saudi SFA