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Friday, July 9, 2010

Exercise: Good for the Body, Good for the Mind

From LOSING IT! With Jillian Michaels
Friday, July 09, 2010

Exercise: Good for the Body, Good for the Mind

It may come as a surprise to you that I don't love to exercise. Sometimes I actually hate it. But I do it anyway, because the rewards far outweigh whatever discomfort I feel during a workout. Regular exercise leads to better health, more energy, a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, and a longer life. But it isn't just the physical benefits of exercise that push me — it's what it does for my mental health.

The mental-health benefits start right after you exercise. Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you complete a workout? That you feel relaxed, or even euphoric? That mood lift, often called "runner's high," comes courtesy of natural morphine-like chemicals called endorphins. Exercise floods the brain with endorphins, which help to relieve pain, enhance your mood, and relieve stress.

But the feel-good effects don't stop after the endorphin rush subsides. Over time, exercise provides a major boost to your confidence. As you start working out and getting stronger, your sense of strength in other aspects of your life will naturally flourish as well. To put it another way, if you can survive my workouts, you can do anything — and when you feel that sense of empowerment, nothing will be able to stand between you and the life you want to live.


  1. It's funny how that works. We all know what is good for us and what is bad for us, yet, we still make bad choices and fight our instincts to do the good things! I've settled in my own expectations of decision-making in that I want to keep the good ones at around 85-90% with a little room to satisfy those evil choices (mmmmmmm cheeeseburgerrrr).

    Most importantly, having people with similar goals to chat with really helps reinforce the good decision-making and boosts the motivation to keep up with my fitness!

  2. I can attest to the confidence boost from exercise. I'm a more open, upbeat person when I workout than when I'm not.