You Might Not Like It, But This Can Help Improve Your Mood

Boost your physical health, and your mind and body, too.

You Might Not Like It, But This Can Help Improve Your Mood

The Gallup-Sharecare 2016 Community Rankings for Exercise report examined rates of regular exercise in 189 communities across the U.S., asking residents how often they exercised during the previous week for 30 or more minutes. While the results across communities ranged from less than 45 percent of the population exercising regularly to more than 65 percent doing so, it was also found that regular exercise is related to communities' overall well-being in a positive way.

When examining the emotional effects of exercise, researchers found that rates of positive emotions — smiling, enjoyment, happiness — were high (86.3 percent) in the top 10 communities for regular exercise. In comparison, rates of positive emotions were 5 percent lower in the lowest 10 cities for regular exercise. High-ranking exercise communities also evaluated their lives and futures more positively compared to the lower ranking communities, and had higher rates of community pride, volunteerism and an overall feeling of safety and security. 

Exercise, endorphins and your mood

How are exercise and your emotional state related? There are a few different theories that explain why moods improve and sadness and anxiety are reduced after working out.

The first has to do with endorphins, which are released during exercise. Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals that interact with opioid receptors in the brain; some believe they produce feelings of euphoria.

Norepinephrine, also a neurotransmitter, moderates stress levels in the body and increases during exercise for animals. In humans, the relationship between exercise and norepinephrine — along with serotonin and dopamine — is still being examined. While researchers look into this, many mental health professionals use exercise as a way to help patients with clinical depression.

Other ways exercise improves your mental health

In addition to the positive neurochemical effects, exercise can greatly boost your social life and overall sense of self. Here are some ways it accomplishes that.

  • Exercise creates self-efficacy. Goal-setting is important, as is achieving those goals. Whether your ambition is to walk five minutes on the treadmill, get your exercise in by walking or biking your errands, or lift a heavier weight than the week before, accomplishing goals can increase overall self-confidence. Succeeding at something will greatly influence how you approach future tasks.
  • Exercise distracts you. Working out and having a more active lifestyle can temporarily divert your mind from negative thoughts and disruptive patterns. When you have to focus on putting one foot in front of the other while running, or participating in a sport, for example, it’s difficult to also worry about something going on at home.
  • Exercise helps you meet new people. Keeping fit provides a positive way for you to socialize, and broadening your circle can positively impact your overall well-being. So, grab a pair of sneakers and head to the park, the pool, the bike path or a group exercise class.

The year isn’t over yet — you still have a chance to start or boost an exercise regimen. Not only will you improve your physical health, but your mind and soul will thank you, too.

7 Essential Items to Have for a Pandemic Date, According to a Relationship Expert

Celebrity divorce attorney and relationship expert Vikki Ziegler says you should treat COVID-19 like an STD.

Just when we thought relationships and dating could not get any more complicated, the pandemic took this matter to a whole new level. Celebrity divorce attorney and relationship expert, Vikki Ziegler receives an abundance of questions about this exact topic, every single day. Her fans and followers message her via her social media channels, in the hopes of finding the right way to safely date during these times. So, if this topic has crossed your mind, rest assured you are not alone.

For those who used to "swipe left and right," on the regular, Vikki recommends slowing down for the time being, no matter what type of antibacterial wipes are being used between your swipes. Serial dating during COVID-19 can be dangerous and also very selfish at the same time. This might be a good time to either take a break from dating altogether, or invest more time in one relationship and being monogamous, at least for right now. "Everyone should treat COVID-19 as they do an STD, while dating and practice safe EVERYTHING, even beyond just intimacy," says Ziegler. "This will simplify the process and make the do's and don'ts much less complex."

She recommends that new partners keep the dating virtual prior to both being tested and or having the vaccine. "Screendating" can still be both fun and safe at the same time. She suggests that you still wear your favorite new dress, get that fresh haircut or blowout and act as though you are still going out, even if the date is happening in the privacy of your own home. She has suggested some ideas such as virtual movie nights, happy hours, cooking classes, and the most obvious, the at-home and virtual dining date. This would entail both partners ordering food to each of their respective homes, but using the same menu as if they were dining in person.

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