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.
After examining the readings of 190 university student volunteers from the university for just over a week, on their quantity and quality of sleep, perceived stress levels, free-time physical activity especially if the activity was carried out for a duration of 15 minutes or more, the degree of strain of physical activity, a kinesiology graduate student, Amanda Hyde found that the readings could clearly be segregated into four compartments:
• pleasant-activated feelings like excitement and enthusiasm
• pleasant-deactivated feelings such as satisfaction and relaxation
• unpleasant-activated feelings like anxiety and anger
• unpleasant-deactivated feelings such as depression and sadness
According to Hyde, “We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual. Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well. Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise.” (2)
The reason this finding gains significance is that earlier studies have looked at just the pleasant or unpleasant feelings and not to the idea of activation.
1. Physical Activity Yields Feelings of Excitement, Enthusiasm; science Daily News; February 2012; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120208132709.htm
2. Physical activity yields feelings of excitement, enthusiasm; Penn State- Live - The University's Official News Source; February 2012; http://live.psu.edu/story/57656
Technical report may be accessed at:
1. The Dynamic Nature of Physical Activity Intentions: A Within-Person Perspective on Intention-Behavior Coupling; Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology; February 2012;
INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. ALL INFORMATION GIVEN IS TO BE CHECKED WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE IMPLEMENTING OR TAKING THEM AS STANDARD OR VERIFIED.
Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1 (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2 (Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1) and the upcoming Women’s Complete Fitness Guide (Publisher: Hay House India).
She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites.
She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognized Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com/
Reviewed March 15, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith