Outrun the Winter Blues with these Tips

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Even with a positive outlook, there will be days when we all will feel a little down in the dumps. As with many things in life, it’s not what happens, it’s how we respond that matters. It can be easy to blow off exercise when you’re not feeling 100 percent, but there are plenty of reasons why exercising may be the best thing you can do to change the way you feel.

Exercise isn’t just for burning calories—regular physical activity plays an important role in mental acuity and cognitive function, which can help support a positive outlook on life. Here are five ways exercise can help change the way you feel and put you in a better mood.

1. Enhances oxygen flow.

Muscles need oxygen. When we exercise, our heart and lungs pump oxygenated blood to working muscles. Regular exercise can increase the number of capillaries that deliver oxygenated blood to all parts of your body. As more tissues develop the ability to receive and use oxygen, it can leave you feeling charged up and full of energy.

2. Improves your brain function.

During exercise, it’s not just your muscles that receive a steady stream of oxygenated blood, but also your brain. Exercise increases levels of a neurotransmitter called BDNF, which helps build brain cells and improves transmission of nervous system signals through the brain known as neural patterning. This is why an appropriately challenging workout session can leave you feeling invigorated and mentally sharp.

3. Exercising can be social.

It’s a well-known fact that positive social interaction is one way to overcome a gloomy mood. Simply being around others performing the same activity is a good way to connect with like-minded people. Making exercise a social activity by taking a fitness class or meeting a friend for a run in the park on a nice day can help improve your mood and outlook.

4. Accomplishing a goal.

Setting a goal to exercise for a specific amount of time, run a certain distance or attend one of your favorite fitness classes can help you feel successful.

5. Increases the level of chemicals in your body responsible for boosting your energy levels and promoting positive feelings.

Don’t just think of exercise as a way to lose weight and look great—it can help you feel great, too. Physical activity that elevates your heart rate and gets your blood pumping can be a very effective way to change the way you feel and leave you in a better mood. Exercise can help change your mood and leave you feeling sharp, confident and ready-to-go.
Read more of ‘Boost Your Mood’ Article from Women’s Running