Exercise may help you have a better social life, according to a study done at George Mason University.
A new article published in a journal called Personality and Individual Differences on Science Direct.com asks, “Does exercise on a given day increase the frequency of additional positive events?”
The Cascade of Positive Events used answers taken on a daily basis from college students who, for three weeks, completed a survey The online survey asked them questions about their day.
The study noted that on days participants exercised, they reported positive social interactions, simple things like having a good time with a friend or a memorable chat. The participants also reported that on days with more physical activity, they were more likely to complete projects or achieve small goals.
Also noted was that on the day following one with exercise, they were happier overall and enjoyed their social functions. The boost to small goals went away the next day, however.
Though self-reports aren’t always the most reliable way to perform a study, it has been well documented that physical activity can enhance your mood. Animal studies have proven that new brain neurons are produced with vigorous aerobic exercise.
Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, says, “That’s the only trigger that we know about.”
Some of these new neurons show up in a region of the brain associated with learning and memory, explaining links between aerobic exercise and memory improvement. Another area that loves a daily workout is the frontal lobe. If you workout enough to sweat, there’s an increase in blood flow to this region. It is associated with thinking and planning and goal-setting. It’s also been linked to emotion regulation.
Emily E. Bernstein, who conducted a study on the matter, is a runner. “I notice in myself that I just feel better when I’m active,” she said.
Bernstein’s work showed that physical exertion helps the brain recover from emotionally upsetting situations, a counter measure to some social settings. It may explain why post exercise, participants reported happier interactions.
Physical activity may help people feel, think and plan better. Plus, the so-called “runners high” may improve your social life while the physical activity keeps your body in better shape, making daily exercise a win-win. Yet one still has to find the right amount of motivation and time to reap the rewards.
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