The 3 New “Buzzy” Benefits of Exercise
âThe more active you become, the more purposeful you have – and vice versa,â says Yemiscigil. “It’s an upward spiral.”
The results are especially important for older people, as studies show that such a sense of purpose (and your activity level) tends to wane as you get older, Yemiscigil explains. Maintaining this positive focus, on the other hand, has been linked to longevity and a lower risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention being strongly linked to overall well-being.
Ilene Berns-Zare, psychologist and professional coach, says having a purpose is essential to finding that combination of physical, mental and emotional well-being that allows you to live your best life, a state that some call “thriving.”
âIt is very important to have a goal; it is one of the pillars of self-fulfillment, âshe says. âIt has been shown to improve your quality of life and your happiness. “
The Yemiscigil study is one of a growing number of teases about the psychological benefits of exercise. The benefits “almost seem to have no limits,” says Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. Exercise âmakes us feel revitalized. It makes us feel stronger. It can even make us feel more powerful. “
Here are some other specific ways that physical activity can help you thrive, according to research:
it makes you happier
Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that relieve anxiety and depression and almost instantly make you happier, says Durvasula. It happens with all types of activity, no matter how vigorous it is. âIt’s not necessarily a marathon. It can be yoga or moderate walking. A 2018 study found that as little as 10 minutes of physical activity can increase happiness.
It helps you bond with others
You’ve probably felt that sense of shared connection before when you’ve exercised with others, whether in a group exercise class or just walking with a friend.
Research shows that physical activity prepares our brains for socialization and makes us more likely to trust others. Exercising with someone “creates a different kind of connection and a deeper intimacy,” says Durvasula. âThis is why the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for a lot of people. Taking a Zoom class together is not the same as exercising in person with other people. “
It gives you a sense of accomplishment
When you finish a Pilates class, finish an exhilarating hike, or mark your 50th indoor cycling class, admit it: you feel triumphant. That sense of self-efficacy helps you be bold in other parts of your life, says Durvasula.
After physical activity, âyou feel more powerful and able to take on other challenges in life,â she explains. âResearch shows that on a day when you train, you are much more likely to face cognitive or professional challenges. It changes your mindset towards ‘I can do this.’