Fifteen Reasons Why Practising Sports Can Make You Happier
In previous posts, we’ve talked about the physical benefits of exercise in the lives of those who practice it, but what about the psychological impact? Below, we’ve gathered the 15 reasons why sports can lead to a happier life:
- It can chemically make you happier. When practising sports, one’s body will release endorphins that give a person an intense feeling of well-being. Some doctors even suggest it as as a good tool against depression.
- It can also improve your mood. As we’ve mentioned before, regular exercise helps improve one’s mood and there is no need to sign up for a gym. All you have to do is walk intensively for 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
- Reduce stress. Practising sports can help the body moderate the brain’s reaction to stress. When you’re stressed at work, finishing the day with an escape in the form of a walk or bike ride can be a great way to relax.
- Preventing a worsening mental state. Everyone gets older and like every other part of your body, your brain will show signs of wear. Practising sports can help reduce the degeneration of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
- Improving the health of your brain. It’s widely known that when brain cells die, they don’t regenerate. If you follow a regular cardio program, there is evidence to show that you are helping your brain produce new cells that improve their performance. Other benefits include the release of the BDNF protein, which promotes decision making and learning.
- Improving your memory. Studies have shown that physical exercise can improve memory in adults. In fact, some data provided suggests that running and walking can improve vocabulary retention.
- For women, exercise can help relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
- Improves creativity. As we have seen, exercise can directly affect brain functions and one of those is creativity. With exercise, there is an increased flow of blood to the brain and with it, a rise in oxygen levels that help you to think more clearly and effectively.
- Helps to control addictions. The chemical produced by the brain, sometimes called “reward chemical”, is dopamine. Of the many ways that this can be stimulated, many can form the foundation of unhealthy addictions including alcohol, drugs and overeating. When trying to kick a habit, exercise can provide a healthy way to produce dopamine, providing a valuable ally in the process.
- Promotes sleep. Many people have trouble sleeping and although exercise is not the only solution, going to bed tired from exercise can make it much easier to fall asleep.
- Increase relaxation. After finishing your favourite exercise, you’ll likely feel fantastic. This is because after your body temperature rises with exercise and adjusts when you are finished, you are left with a remarkable feeling of wellbeing.
- Increased self-confidence. There is no doubt that physical exercise helps us feel good about ourselves, because we start each day with a healthier appearance. In that way, our perception of ourselves improves, both physically and mentally.
- Outdoor enjoyment in parks or the countryside. While you can certainly register at a gym, you can also have a fantastic time heading outside for a walk, jog or bike ride. In addition to breathing in quality air, you can also receive vitamin D from the sunshine (don’t forget to use sunscreen). What could be better than heading out for some exercise outdoors on a sunny day?
- It makes you more productive. This may sound strange, but people who exercise are more productive than those who don’t. Try and make time – just an hour per day is needed (40 minutes exercise, 20 minutes to shower and get changed) and you will most certainly find that you have “created” more time.
- Improving social relationships. Always try to go walking and running with friends or family. Exercise creates a positive atmosphere and you will see that your relationships will improve tremendously. No matter if you do it outdoors or in a gym, exercise clearly helps to make new friendships and strengthen old ones.
So you see, it’s a no brainer. Just get out there. Walk, run or ride to be happy
Information taken from The British Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association.