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We are familiar with the term “runner’s high” – the feeling of euphoria or “being in the zone” that medium- to long-distance runners get after a strenuous run due to the release of the “feel good” hormone endorphin. Turns out that you do not have to be at the track every day or sweating it out at the gym long hours to reap similar benefits.
Research from Penn State shows that even being more physically active (as opposed to leading a sedentary life) helps bring out the feelings of excitement, making you feel more enthusiastic and involved with everything around you.
Apparently if one tests out the same person on two days with varying degrees of physical activity, the results would differ. It is more likely that the person will report positive emotions on days when they are more physically than on days they have been comparatively sedentary.
According to David Conroy, professor of kinesiology at Penn State, “You don't have to be the fittest person who is exercising every day to receive the feel-good benefits of exercise. It's a matter of taking it one day at a time, of trying to get your activity in, and then there's this feel-good reward afterwards.” (1)
A trend analysis showed the primary reason people avoided committing to any exercise program was because it demanded a slice of time on a regular/continuous basis for a few months and this demotivated them. However, there was a way to work around it. It was important to keep active on a day-today basis, so that you commit to only rather small portions of time or days in the week for physical activity so that the task does not seem overwhelming at the beginning.
Even these little steps could be rewarded on a daily basis to continue with the new strategy. Once the feelings of wellbeing, excitement and enthusiasm start to flow in, they will be part of the reason you would want to keep at the new schedule.