It is common knowledge that when we exercise, the body builds muscle and/or more stamina, making our daily activities easier. The connection between exercise and our brain and mood, however, is less clear. The most recent research suggests that when we begin to exercise, it is recognised by the brain as a moment of stress. To protect the brain and body from the stress, the body releases a protein known as BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF protein acts a reset switch by protecting and repairing elements of the memory neurons and is why we often feel so relaxed, clear and happy after exercising.
At the same time that BDNF is released, chemicals, known as endorphins, are also released into the brain to manage the exercise induced stress. These endorphins are released to minimize any exercise discomfort, to act as a pain blocker and to increase the feeling of euphoria.
Overall, there is a lot going on inside our brain to make us feel good with the release of BDNF and endorphins during and after exercise.
So to get a happiness boost every day, schedule 20 minutes of focused activity a day.