Exercise Makes Us Happy -- It's Science

Exercise Makes Us Happy -- It's Science

Why do people exercise?

We know that regular fitness is good for the heart and that it can help the body to build muscles and maintain a healthy weight. But it also spurs the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that promote happiness.

And now a new study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology adds more evidence to the "happiness" benefit.

Researchers from the Penn State University found in their study that the more physically active people reported greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm, compared with the less physically active people.

"We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual," study researcher Amanda Hyde, a kinesiology graduate student at Penn State, said in a statement.

The study tracked the daily activities of 190 college-age students, who were asked to journal the amount and level of physical activity they got in their free time (15 minutes or more), the amount and quality of sleep they got each night, and their overall mental states (like stress and their feelings). At the end of each day for eight days, the participants gave their journals to the researchers.

"Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well," Hyde said in the statement. "Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise."

Recently, a study came out in the Journal of Business and Psychology showing that bosses who don't take the time to exercise are more stressed and lash out at their employees, compared with bosses who make time for fitness.

Researchers found that the more stressed out the bosses were, the more likely their employees were to say they felt like they were being victimized, the Times of India reported. And, the more the boss broke a sweat, the less abuse reported on the part of the employee.

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