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Researchers in 'Happy Valley' Report Exercise Increases Happiness

By Joanne Sgro HERWriter
Obesity related image Photo: Getty Images

Did you ever notice that after you exercise, you’re in a better mood? Do you have friends that are addicted to fitness and are always perky or have a spring in their step?

A new study will get you motivated to get moving this weekend.

According to a new report featured on ScienceDaily.com, “People who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less physically active.”

This report of happy exercisers comes from none other than “Happy Valley.” Penn State researchers conducted the study with 190 student participants with its findings featured in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Each study participant kept an activity diary of leisure time and physical activity level. They were also asked to record their sleep habits. In addition, they kept track of their moods and stress levels.

One result mentioned by study authors showed that, “People also are more likely to report feelings of excitement and enthusiasm on days when they are more physically active than usual.”

Penn State Professor of Kinesiology, David Conroy, says focusing on short-term goals rather then long-term goals, can help with fulfilling your exercise obligations.

"Taking it one day at a time and savoring that feel-good effect at the end of the day might be one step to break it down and get those daily rewards for activity. Doing this could help people be a little more encouraged to stay active and keep up the program they started."

According to MayoClinic.com, one of the reasons for the boost in mood could be endorphins. They reported that exercise “releases these feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression.”

The Mayo Clinic also said that exercise “reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.” The Mayo Clinic also reported that anxiety, which can sometimes go along with depression, can be controlled with exercise due to “an increase in body temperature, which may have calming effects.”

Happy Valley, or Penn State, researchers’ findings supported the effects of exercise on depression alone.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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