You know regular exercise improves your physical health in many ways, but did you know it can also help boost your mood and spice up your social life? Exercise can help improve you self-image, boost your mood and relieve stress. To tap in to the various emotional and social benefits of exercise, establish a regular weekly routine. You'll be feeling less stressed and more social in no time.
Regular physical activity can help relieve the stress of a busy life. Not only does the brain release feel-good chemicals to help you feel more positive, the very motion of the body and single-minded focus of exercise can help you forget a difficult day or a particular anxiety. Shed your stress by meditating as you exercise, focusing on your body's movement and breath rather than on an agitating day. Regular exercise also tends to improve your sleep patterns -- often disrupted by stress -- which can help you feel more in control of your life.
Boosting Your Mood
Exercise releases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in your brain, which can help shift your mood. Endorphins trigger positive feelings and act as sedatives, dulling your perception of pain. Even a 30-minute jog after work can help turn around a bad day. Regular physical activity can also give you an extra boost of energy by improving your muscle strength and endurance over time, causing your heart and lungs to work more efficiently as well.
A regular exercise routine can help improve the way you think about yourself, increasing your self-confidence in a social scene. A regular cardio and strength-training routine will shed extra body fat and tone muscles, helping you meet your fitness goals and feel good about how you look. Set realistic goals that are strenuous enough to be satisfying when met, yet attainable to avoid frustration.
An additional social benefit of some exercise is an increase in empathy. Working out in a group, with a team or in a social setting often leads to a situation that calls for an empathetic understanding of another athlete. After an intense workout, you are able to identify with friends or teammates in their own fitness routine and can help them achieve their goals alongside yours.
Joelle Dedalus began writing professionally for websites such as PugetSoundMagazine.com in 2009. She received her B.A. in English education at Iowa State University and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in creative nonfiction writing at Emerson College in Boston, where she is developing a manuscript on literary travel. Her areas of expertise include travel and literature, the outdoors and the arts.