Over the past 4 years, I have been lucky enough to learn a lot of lessons about life, but I’ve probably been just as lucky to fall into a circle of physicians and health experts. Jade and Jill were only half of my circle. The rest included Keoni Teta (co-founder of Metabolic Effect, N.D.), Jillian Sarno Teta (Founder of Fix Your Digestion, N.D.) and a plethora of personal trainers like Emily Miner (Emilyminer.com, ACSM-CPT).
Just relax, I’m only name dropping to establish some credibility for what I’m about to tell you. Sure, I can list off the complete roster of the 2005 Wake Forest basketball team (Shout out CP3, Justin Gray, & Taron Downy), and talk Napoleon Hill books for days, and I can even give you some nasty workouts, but these are the people who do the heavy duty health research. They read all the boring stuff about cortisol, insulin, and blood glucose, and then translate that into English for me, and I reiterate all of the cool shit I hear.
With Jill launching the Total Training Experience I got all sorts of excited to write a fitness post for you guys.
One of my favorite topics is how health and fitness affects happiness. As humans, we naturally move towards pleasure and away from pain. Makes sense, right? Popcorn = happiness. Cutting the grass with nail clippers = pain. Simple.
We all move towards that pleasure in different ways though; some people are smoking, some are drinking, and some are popping anti-depressants like they’re M&M’s. Some people play games/sports, some people exercise, some people read, and some hit up the Hot Tub Cinema.
Some of these are probably healthier outlets than others, but I am not here to judge. How people deal with sadness or anger is their business, and people are going to do what makes them feel good because that is what us humans do; we are pleasure seekers. I have a few vices of my own. But my grandma reads my blog, and I love my grandma, so I’ll keep it PG.
My job is to provide cool shit, remember? One of the things I’ve learned from my health circle was that exercise can increase mood better than anti-depressants such as Prozac.
That’s crazy. Do you know how happy Prozac makes you?! Me neither. But I mean, c’mon, it’s called a happy drug.
What’s even more interesting is that different forms of exercise can be beneficial for different kinds of moods.
- Lifting Weights -> Improved Confidence
- Running/Longer Duration Cardio -> Increased Mood
- Sprinting/High Intensity Exercise -> Decreased Anxiety
Got a hot date? Get in a sprint workout first to take the edge off. Going to the bar on Friday night? Get some bench, squats, and deadlifts in. Having a down week? Try going to run stadiums.
It’s not the idea that “exercise is good for you” that I find awesome. We all know that. It’s how it’s good for you that motivates me to hit the gym. Here are some other benefits of excise you may not have known:
- Cognition: Exercise increases blood flow to brain, which helps with creativity, problem solving, and coming up with clever pick up lines.
- Stress: Exercise can make you more adaptive to stress. Those who exercise are more emotionally stable which can lead to healthier relationships, less anxiety, and more control over your emotions.
- Looking Sexy: Let’s be real, there are 3 reasons we exercise: To look good, feel good, and live longer. But if you’re single, and ready to mingle, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good.
- Disease Prevention: Exercise has been shown to be an incredible method for disease prevention; including cancer. People who exercise are less likely to get diagnosed, and those with cancer, who exercise, have higher survival rates.
- Mood Enhancement: There is no better mood enhancer than exercise.
- Better anti-inflammatory than aspirin
- Sex: Sure, go the Viagra route, but watch out for that 4-hour erection. Exercise is a great thing to do for stronger erections and for a higher sex drive. Drugs, alcohol, and being overweight are all a bad deal for your libido. Research shows that couples that workout together are having more sex.