FEEL HAP­PIER

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Good Health -

Ex­er­cise has long been known to be a boon for the mind. It stim­u­lates en­dor­phins and the neu­ro­trans­mit­ter sero­tonin and a re­cent US study found that it also boosts lev­els of two other neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that reg­u­late emo­tional health. ‘The eas­ier you make it, the more likely you are to do it, so pulling on your train­ers and run­ning around the lo­cal park is an ob­vi­ous one,’ says Jo. ‘And al­ways seek out some­thing you re­ally en­joy – again, you’ll be more in­clined to do it.’

Along with mood, ex­er­cise also in­flu­ences brain health as we age, with a new study find­ing that women who were highly fit in mid­dle age had a five times lower risk of de­men­tia than those who weren’t, and an­other show­ing that high­in­ten­sity ex­er­cise can im­prove mem­ory.

GET STARTED…

Ex­er­cise that re­quires con­cen­tra­tion has a sim­i­lar ef­fect to med­i­ta­tion. Tai chi is a prime ex­am­ple, but for some­thing more phys­i­cal, try boul­der­ing (climb­ing low routes with­out a rope). A US study found that do­ing it for just eight weeks eased de­pres­sion be­cause of the fo­cus re­quired – visit thebmc.co.uk. The so­cial­is­ing ef­fect: peo­ple who ex­er­cised in a group showed bet­ter phys­i­cal and emo­tional im­prove­ment than those who worked out alone.

QUICK FIX!

If you’re feel­ing low, do any­thing that moves your body for the feel­good fac­tor, even for two min­utes. Dance, do star jumps, take a walk around the block – you’ll al­ways feel bet­ter for it.

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