Everyone knows that habitual exercise is good for you, especially in the long term. But when considering physical activity, many people wonder what’s in it for them right now. Immediate gratification would be a big plus.
You can have it, right now, today. A new study shows that people who get at least 15 minutes of physical activity a day are more likely to be enthusiastic and excited about almost everything. So if you are looking for more gusto in your life, physical activity is one way to get it.
The study, reported in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, found that people tend to be more excited and enthusiastic just on days when they are more active. That should offer encouragement to those who are intimidated by the idea of starting an exercise program. Instead of wondering about long-term goals, they can think about the benefits for today.
The research involved 200 people who reported their activities, sleep quality and quantity, and their mood or mental state throughout the day. Those who were more active also tended to sleep better, the study found. Other research links physical activity with levels of the hormones and neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which can lead to these positive emotions and feelings of well-being and happiness.
Though the 200-person study was small and short, only eight days, there’s little risk in getting some exercise to see how it affects your own inner zest. At the very least, it will be good for your heart and help to tone you up. If you get an enthusiastic exercise high, so much the better.