Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Author: Shannon Miller

It is no secret that exercise is beneficial to our well-being.

Regular exercise can help us so that we’re not winded walking up the stairs at work.  It can allow us to pick up our children without pulling a muscle.  It can even help us look our best for bathing suit season. Along with improving our physical well-being, exercise can also help us improve the psychological aspects of our lives.

Check out these incredible benefits:

  • All work and no exercise makes for a moody Mommy! You wake up on Monday morning thinking about the million items on your to-do list. Your positive mood from the weekend doesn’t seem to want to persist through the week. What do you do?  Before you answer, consider this: researchers at Santa Clara University found mood to improve with exercise, particularly when the exercise resembled real-world environments (i.e. health club or outdoors), rather than a laboratory setting.1 So, perhaps a good way to deal with a case of “The Mondays” (or Tuesdays or Wednesdays….) is to head to the gym or go for a walk in your neighborhood!
  • Let’s get energized! As busy as women are today, what is the last things we feel like doing after (or before) a busy day?  You probably wouldn’t be alone if your answer was exercise; it might seem counterintuitive, but research suggests otherwise.  For example, a study conducted by University of Georgia researchers found that chronic exercise programs are correlated with enhanced feelings of energy for women.2 Although it might be hard to acknowledge this on a day to day basis, over time you’re sure to feel such effects.
TIP:  Allowing exercise to be a source of both physical and psychological well-being could switch moody Mommy to blissful babe!

1 Plante, Thomas G., Carissa Gores, Carrie Brecht, Jessica Carrow, Anne Imbs, and Eleanor Willemsen.  “Does Exercise Environment Enhance the Psychological Benefits of Exercise for Women.”  International Journal of Stress Management.  14 (2007): 88-98.

2 Puetz, T. W., Patrick J. O’Connor, and Rod K. Dishman,  “Effect of Chronic Exercise on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue: A Quantitative Synthesis.”  Psychological Bulletin.  132 (2006): 866-876.

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