We’ve all had those days where you just aren’t feeling like yourself, down in the dumps or just out of sorts.
These are the days when it’s super easy to find an excuse to skip your workout. You think, I’ve got too many deadlines. Maybe I’m sick. What I really need is comfort food and bad television.
While it’s normal to feel this way occasionally, putting exercise on the back burner is probably not the best thing for you to do. On these days especially, a good workout might be just the thing you need to feel better.
This is because exercise – whether it’s your favorite cardio routine, arm day with your weights, or just a brisk walk in your neighborhood – isn’t just about keeping yourself physically healthy. From stress relief to self-care to changing your outlook, workouts hit a lot of marks.
Let’s look at five different ways that exercise can help boost your mood and make you feel happier.
1. Exercise can improve your brain function
When most people think about the benefits of a good workout, they think about stronger muscles, a slimmer waistline and a healthier body. But exercise can do good things for your brain, as well. During exercise, blood flow increases everywhere in your body and your brain receives a boosted stream of oxygenated blood. This makes your brain perform better.
One specific way workouts boost your brain power is the gene BDNF, which makes a protein known as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Exercise stimulates production of this protein, which research has shown can lead to improved cognitive performance. Because of studies that have centered on this, some clinicians are prescribing exercise to patients to help them improve brain function.
Exercise can also help train your brain to learn new things. Studies have shown that working out for even just 20 minutes can improve your memory and how your brain processes information. Exercise makes it easier for your brain to create new neuronal connections, which means embracing new kinds of workouts can actually improve how your brain functions.
2. Exercise can boost positive social interaction
Sometimes when we think of exercising, we see it as a solo activity. But exercise can be a great way to increase your social interaction with others. Working out alongside a good friend or even someone you know in passing from your fitness center or running route gives you a chance for conversation while you’re getting your heart rate up.
This interaction can be a great mood booster. It can push you a little harder to complete your workout or might even make you a bit more competitive. It still works during live virtual workouts too. Don’t be shy, turn on that camera and interact with the group.
Need help introducing yourself to a fellow workout warrior? Next time you go for a run or bike ride or if your fitness center is open, pack extras of your favorite pre- or post-workout snacks like, XS™ Energy Bars or XS™ Protein Crisps and offer one to someone who seems like they could use one.
Chances are you’ll have a new exercise buddy before you know it.
3. Exercise leaves you feeling accomplished
On days when your work or personal life has left you feeling stressed out, it’s nice to know you can leave that all behind when it’s time for your workout. Whether you’re headed outside for a run, hopping on your bike or doing an intense circuit workout, it feels good to set a specific goal and get to work.
How fast can you run your route? How many miles can you log? How many reps will you complete? When you’ve had an especially challenging day, being able to control your workout and come away with a healthy win will feel good.
Since your day was especially challenging, you might need a little help just to find the energy to start your workout. Choose a good pre-workout supllement like XS™ Intense Pre-Workout Boost made with a blend of rhodiola rosea, caffeine and CarnoSyn® beta alanine for increased energy and sharper focus.†
4. Exercise increases oxygen flow
Because exercise increases the blood flow to all parts of your body, it also boosts the oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscles. This helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently and reduces the hormone levels that can put extra stress on your heart.
Research shows it can also have a positive effect after your workout ends, leaving you feeling more clear-headed and with more energy to tackle other tasks throughout your day.
Working out also increases your body’s level of “good” cholesterol and can help lower your blood pressure.
5. Exercise increases endorphins in your body
What’s the bottom line with exercise? It makes you feel good. Every time you workout and get your heart rate up, your body releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins in your brain, which improves your mood.
Ever hear of a “runner’s high”? It’s that feeling of euphoria after a good workout that lasts well after the exercise has ended, leaving people feeling energized and with a positive outlook. You can add to that energy by choosing the right kind of recovery snacks.
XS™ Post-Workout Recovery helps support joint health and muscle recovery, which can help your body rebound quicker after working out.†
Get moving and feel better
So, the next time you’re feeling “blah” and thinking about skipping your workout, remind yourself that it may be just what your body needs. It’s a form of self-care that will give your brain a boost while raising endorphins and oxygen levels.
It will also provide an opportunity to connect with others and experience a sense of accomplishment. The result will lift your mood and leave you feeling like you’re ready to take on the rest of your day.
†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.