The Health Hub: Does exercising make you happier?

Alexis Marvin, spread editor

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Junior Sarah Burstein runs both for cross-country and in her free time. Exercising may benefit everyone, even if running isn't their go-to workout.

Junior Sarah Burstein runs both for cross-country and in her free time. Exercising may benefit everyone, even if running isn’t their go-to workout.

According to Mayo Clinic, in the world, it is estimated that only one in three children are active every day. Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of some sort of screen, and only six states require physical education in every grade, K-12.

With the constant development of technology and the busy schedules of most people, it comes as no surprise that exercising can sometimes be a hardship.

With that being said, though, it is vital that people take at least some time out of their busy schedules three or more times a week and get active. Why? Exercising can actually make a person happier.

“Exercise can protect you from the debilitating effects of stress,” Wendy Suzuki said in an interview for Fast Company.

Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that have the ability to make people happier and more relaxed.

Not only does it improve one’s mood, it also boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good cholesterol. This can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Living an active and healthy lifestyle can bring many benefits to both mind and body. The commitment to exercise may lead to setting different goals in different areas of life.

“If you have a desire to go after a goal, go for it and lose the mental leash,” Jason Wanlass said in an article for Idaho Statesman.

People may also get a confidence boost after they exercise, knowing they took a step in the right direction to becoming healthier.

“Staying active can be hard, but when you do, it makes you feel accomplished,” junior Abby Boggins said.

There are many different exercises one can do to get in shape. Exercise can be anything from a brisk, 30-minute walk to an hour on the elliptical at the gym.

Many Northwest students enjoy running, both on the cross country and track team, as well as in their free time.

“The best part [about exercising] for me is the runner’s high,” Boggins said. “During a workout, you can get a runner’s high which makes you feel like you can run for miles and miles.”

More students than just Boggins enjoy running also, claiming it gives them the same sort of adrenaline rush.

“Personally, I prefer long-distance runs,” sophomore Brooke Hodge said. “The best part is where you get a ‘runner’s high’ which is basically a point mid-run where your lungs relax and you feel entirely in control.”

Other people have a routine they like to stick to, or a certain class they really enjoy.

“I love this certain class at my gym,” junior Shalmalee Soman said. “I take my friends sometimes and they love it, too.”

After a long, hard day at school, working out is a good solution to releasing the stress that may build up from the challenging classes students take to become college-ready.

“When I exercise, it clears my mind and gives me an opportunity to think and decompress,” junior Sarah Burstein said.

Altogether, exercising is very beneficial to everyone. Starting out small, working out for 30 minutes three or four times a week and then setting bigger goals, can help people both to get in shape and feel happier and healthier.

It may seem difficult to find time to work out among one’s busy schedule, but exercising should be an important part of people’s lives.

“I recommend running to others,” Boggins said. “Most people don’t want to try running because of how challenging it can be in the beginning. Once you’re in shape, running is actually really fun.”

No matter how hard it may be to get started, many students agree that it will be worth it in the long run.

“[Exercising] is extremely important and only makes you feel better about yourself,” Hodge said.

 

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