Sure, you know exercise is good for you. It keeps your weight in check, makes you stronger, and keeps you feeling youthful through the decades regardless of how many candles are on your birthday cake.

Along with making your body function better and for longer it makes you feel better as well.  But did you know that exercise can benefit your mental wellness too and make you a happier person? It’s true.

When you work out and stay active on a regular basis, it’s not just a coincidence that you feel less stressed out, less anxious, and generally happier.

Here are 9 reasons why exercise makes you happy:

1) Exercise to get happier – You know how good you feel after exercising and this inner fitness or sense of wellbeing is just as important if not more so than the outside body benefits.

Physical activity releases happy chemicals into your brain. In particular, dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness, is a neurotransmitter in the brain that’s necessary for feelings of pleasure and happiness.

Many studies suggest that as we age, we are constantly losing our stores of dopamine, which is why we need to constantly seek out experiences that release dopamine.

The best way to increase your brain’s dopamine production? Exercise. So run, lift, jump, sprint – and get happy. The better we get to feel about ourselves, the better the environment around us and more the people close to us will benefit.

Science backs up the premise that regular exercise actually boosts your mood and makes you a more joyful person. When you workout intensely, physiological changes take place in your body that increase a feeling of happiness.

2) Boost your energy – A lifestyle without proper exercise can leave you feeling fatigued and unmotivated. When you workout regularly you will feel more alert and energetic as when you exercise blood gets pumped around your body delivering oxygen to all the cells and tissues. This stimulates our metabolism (our body’s engine) giving it a ‘rev’ up.

3) Boost memory and alertness – What you do to keep your body strong and fit has the same effect on the brain. Proper exercise increases blood flow to the brain which “wakes” it up stimulating better memory and increases mental function, alertness and vigor.

4) Build self-esteem – Just sticking with your exercise program gives a huge feeling of accomplishment and instills a sense of pride, boosting your self esteem and confidence. You are doing something for yourself and this makes you feel good. The self-discipline from simply showing up spills positively over into every area of your life.

5) Reduce stress – But when you are stressed out or frustrated, your body is busy producing cortisol that damages your organs.  Exercise will decrease the amount of cortisol in your body creating…you guessed it, happiness. Exercise also releases the feel good chemicals endorphins and endocannabinoids which also lower your stress level and…you guessed it, increase happiness.

Your exercise program also gives you some “me” time providing time for reflection and a chance for the brain to recalibrate. This soothing and calming time can go a long way to reducing stress. Many of us do not take enough time alone with our thoughts to center ourselves and dissipate the problems and busyness of our modern day lives. Think of your exercise session as meditation or medicine for your mind.


Not only will working out ease stress in the short term by helping you dissipate the day’s worries, regular exercise will help you become less stressed out in the long term as well. That’s because when you exercise, you are actually subjecting yourself to a low-level form of stress by raising your heart rate and triggering a burst of hormonal changes.

When you subject yourself to the stress of exercise enough, your body will eventually get better at handling the rest of life’s stressors. And less stress equals a happier, healthier life.

6) Chase away depression – While most of us get the blues at one time or another, some people experience intense depression for prolonged periods. Left unresolved, depression can wreck a life. One effective remedy is literally to sweat it out with exercise. This floods the brain with good natural chemicals and can reverse the effects of even major depression in a much healthier way than toxic drugs.

Many doctors and therapists now recommend exercise as part of their treatment for anxiety or depression. It has been proven that someone who exercises regularly is less prone to depression and mental illness than someone who doesn’t.

7) Ease anxietyIf you suffer from anxiety, exercise is such a simple cure. Because recent studies on the effects of exercise show that in people suffering from anxiety, the immediate mood boost from exercise is followed by longer-term relief that no other medication or strategy can match. So, next time you are feeling anxious, put some effort into your exercise session – you will feel happier for days on end.

8) Fight insomniaTrouble sleeping? Skip the sleeping pill and try exercising instead. Staying active and exercising on a regular basis has been shown to improve sleeping problems of insomniacs and people with sleeping disorders. And not only can regular exercise significantly improve your sleep quality, it can also give you that pep that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning and do things. And that equals greater happiness, every time.

9) Boost your confidenceWhen you don’t feel good about your body or how you look, it’s all too easy to have low self-esteem. And that can have a negative effect on all areas of your life including your relationships, your career, and your goals and aspirations.

But when you start to exercise and see your body transform, that can quickly change. Because exercise will not only make you like how you look, it will also make you feel stronger, more independent, and more confident. There’s nothing like a boost in confidence to increase overall happiness.

There are really only two requirements when it comes to exercise. One is that you do it. The other is that you continue to do it.  

In essence, you are in control of your own destiny and mood. If you want happiness and change, you know what to do. So, please refrain from exercising if you enjoy being:

Lazy, dull, and lifeless

Stressed, disheartened and depressed

Moody, miserable and down in the dumps

Tired, apathetic and worn out


It’s a fact that many people do not get enough exercise because after a whole day of sitting in front of a computer, they only have enough energy left over to sit in front of a TV set at home. Switching over to a lifestyle that includes exercise does involve a decision, and a If you are telling yourself that exercise is hard and that it’s boring change the messages that you send to yourself.

Tell yourself frequently that exercising your body is vital for your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s up to you to make it so it’s not boring and there are plenty of ways to do that.

Take the time to make a mental shift within yourself. Turn off your thinking brain, and feel your body. Feel it as it moves. Learn to feel what your body really needs, and what messages your body is really sending you. Chances are that the yearning you feel deep inside that you up until now do not recognize is your body trying to tell you “I REALLY need exercise!”

That yearning is often mistaken for boredom and other negative states. This is what prompts people to find quick fixes in substances and buying sprees that soon wear off and then those negative, sad, empty feelings return.

When you give your body when it was designed for, what it needs to be healthy those feelings are replaced with a joy that goes right down to your soul. In fact, that is how I personally define fitness – an inner sense of wellbeing.

How long before it takes effect?

Studies show that exercising regularly for about two weeks creates these chemical changes that will cause you to crave exercise making it easier to keep it going. When you are first starting out with exercise or getting back into it after weeks of downtime, remember that the first couple of weeks might be challenging.

After that, your motivation will naturally increase. It goes from “something you do” to “something you become”. That is the place where there is unlimited motivation, if fact the last thing you want to do is NOT do your exercise session. You feel like you are missing out on something very special and dear to your heart (and body!)


Your exercise program should contain mostly strength training exercise to strengthen your body but you will find it will strengthen your mind as well. You will become more resilient for the ups and downs of everyday life and so much stronger to deal with life’s sometimes bigger crises.

You will also notice you have a better more positive outlook on yourself and your life. If you do not already appreciate all of the wonderful things in your life you just might start. Your enthusiasm for exercise will be so contagious that you might just pass it on to someone who is not active and change their life for the better.

For detailed exercise programs I have a fitness package that gives lots of variety and instruction.

You can see it here :

Fitness For You

For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: