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Unlock the Secret to a Happier Mind with Exercise

One of the main missions in life is to be happy. Many people embark on lifelong quests, searching for happiness. Whether it be in the form of travel, participating in leisurely activities, or starting a new hobby, happiness may just be right around the corner.

However, some people struggle with happiness. It may be from mental health issues or life’s circumstances, but sometimes, happiness may feel just out of reach. Before you throw in the towel on your search for happiness, stop and take a moment to consider this: The secret to a happier mind may just be with exercise.

Here is how you can unlock the secret to a happier mind with exercise:

Four Types of Exercise

What are the Four Types of Exercise?

Many people may be under the impression that exercise comes in only two forms: Running and lifting weights. This is simply not the case. Exercise can be practiced in many ways. However, four types of exercise exist, with many different activities falling under different categories.

The four types of exercise are:

  • Aerobic
  • Strength training
  • Stretching
  • Balance

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and breathing. This is important for your heart and lungs as exercise increases endurance.

Aerobic exercise helps you move better, stay flexible, condition your heart and lungs, and get enough blood to your muscles. This is a great form of exercise that has positive lasting impacts on both the body and mind.

Strength Training

Strength training

This form of exercise allows us to build up the muscle mass we lose each year. Strength training helps your body stay prepped to endure daily tasks. These tasks can include lifting objects, carrying groceries, and even getting ourselves out of bed in the morning.

Not only does strength training increase essential muscle mass, but it also helps you build new bone. This is wonderful for preventing osteoporosis and bone loss. Strengthening your muscles also lowers blood sugar, stabilizes weight, reduces stress and anxiety, reduces pain in the body and joints, and improves posture and overall balance.


Stretching offers a variety of benefits. Not only does it feel so good, but it also leads to increasing the necessary flexibility of the tendons and muscles. If you are not utilizing your muscles properly, they shorten. And if you do not stretch to lengthen the muscles, the likelihood of straining, damaging, falling, or cramps increases tenfold.

Stretching should be practiced each day as it can help you with daily activities. Range of motion is imperative to keep the body strong and reduce the risk of injury.



Balance is key to overall health and wellness. Without it, your world can crumble, and the anxiety increases. When you have proper and trained balance, you can prevent injuries and falls.

In addition to supporting our health, practicing balancing exercises can help reduce inner ear, leg muscles, vision, and joint issues as we age. Balance is the difference between a world that is spinning and a world that is being enjoyed with minimal pain and maximum movement.

How Does Exercise Impact the Brain?

Although the majority of fitness marketing ads focus on the physical benefits of getting in shape and toned, there are many more benefits of practicing daily exercise. Exercise is proven to positively impact the brain and overall mental health and wellness.

Here are the facts you need to know about exercise and its connection with the brain:

Dementia Risk

Decreases risk of dementia

After a 20-year study was conducted between participants who were either sedentary or exercised, their brains were analyzed by scientists. The results were astounding.

The adults who exercised and engaged in regular movement scored higher on cognitive ability and memory tests. This same group was linked with a 31% lower risk of dementia.

Promotes integrity of white matter and neuroplasticity

Exercise can increase the thickness of the cerebral cortex. This improves the integrity of existing white matter. White matter is nerve fibers that are connected to the nerve-cell-rich gray matter located in the brain.

Neuroplasticity in the brain can also increase. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to form new neural connections, which are essential to proper brain functioning throughout your lifetime. This improvement of neuroplasticity allows you to continue learning and experiencing for the duration of your lifetime.


Releases neurotransmitters

You may have heard the expression that a walk a day keeps the doctor away—or that may have been an apple. Exercise also fits the same bill. Neurotransmitters are released throughout your nervous system when you exercise.

Endorphins and endocannabinoids

The most well-known neurotransmitters are endorphins and endocannabinoids. Endorphins increase pleasure feelings whilst blocking pain signals in the brain.

Exercise can stimulate endorphins, thus causing you to feel happier and less pain. Studies show that endorphins and endocannabinoids released and working together are what gives the “euphoric” or “runner’s high” people enjoy during and after exercising.


Another top-notch neurotransmitter that is stimulated through exercise is dopamine. Dopamine regulates your sleep cycle, emotions and moods, attention span, heart rate, memory, cognitive learning, pain-sensing, and motivation.

This neurotransmitter—just like endorphins and endocannabinoids—can cause the pleasure center of the brain to ignite. People physiologically feel better and happier after exercising.

Brain Oxygen

Increases oxygen to the brain

The oxygen supply to the brain is greatly increased as the heart pumps blood faster throughout the body. This oxygen increase aids memory, self-control, and overall brain function.

Blood flow to the cerebrum, specifically—the largest part of the brain—is accountable for higher intelligence, emotional regulation, sensory input, and basic motor function. Exercise stalls cognitive decline as you age and reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reduces inflammation

Not only is inflammation painful, but it can also cause unpleasant mental symptoms. Inflammation is directly correlated to increased chances of anxiety and depression.

Inflammation can cause both physical and mental anguish. Exercise greatly reduces inflammation and can help restore a sense of inner peace and harmony.

Reduce Stress

Reduces stress

Along with promoting peace and harmony, exercise is proven to reduce stress. Movement reduces the negative effects of stress on the mind. Exercise mimics the fight-or-flight response in the brain, thus helping your body systems to work through the effects.

Exercise additionally helps your digestive, cardiovascular, and immune systems—thus protecting your brain from stress symptoms. Movement aids in positive responses both in the body and mind together.

Improves self-confidence

Daily exercise boasts incredible benefits to the mind and mental health. Not only does it make you look good, but it also makes you feel good. Exercising can increase self-confidence and your overall relationship with yourself. In other words, when you take care of yourself, you feel like you did a job well done.

It takes discipline, determination, and consistency to reap the overall effects of exercise. When you apply yourself to daily exercise, you will see you can do anything you put your mind to, and your self-confidence will go through the roof. 

Exercise Routine

How To Develop an Exercise Routine for Your Mental Health

If you are not already participating in some form of daily exercise, now is the best time to start. For starters, experts reveal the average person needs vigorous physical activity at least 3 days a week for 15 minutes or more. If you prefer lower-intensity workouts, you can opt for 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days per week and achieve the same results.

Here are the top tips for developing an exercise routine for your mental health:

  • Consult with your doctor first
  • Choose what time of day works best for you
  • Set realistic and attainable goals
  • Walk first, not run
  • Do something you love i.e. gardening, walking, weightlifting, yoga, swimming, etc.
  • Find a workout buddy or group
  • Hire a personal trainer
  • Stick with it!

Conclusion: Embrace Exercise for a Happier Mind

If you are looking to improve your mental health, exercise is a great place to start. By implementing daily exercise, your mind will reap the greatest benefits. Not only will you feel physically better, but you will also feel mentally better and more confident in yourself.

Your brain needs stimulation to stay lucid. Exercise promotes neuroplasticity, releases neurotransmitters, reduces stress and inflammation, improves cognitive function, promotes the integrity of white matter, and decreases the risks of dementia.

Start your exercise routine today. Your mind will thank you for it!

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