Your Brain When You Exercise: Why Do You Feel Happy?

It is common knowledge that exercising makes you feel happier and more clear headed. We have all experienced the effects exercise has at some point in our lives. We relate exercise to feeling good. Most treatments for mental illness and physical injury involve medicine coupled with exercise. Exercising is good for your body and good for your mind. The lesser known facts about exercise revolve around why we feel good. Something special happens to your brain when you exercise, and that is what makes us feel good!

It's a Good Type of Stress

Whenever your heart pumps really fast, your brain determines that it is stress causing your increased heart rate. Since your heart beats fast when you are exercising, exercise is considered stressful. Your brain is a powerful tool that has many tricks up its sleeve to protect you from harm. One such tool is known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that is released when the brain is under stress. It protects you from stress and repairs memory neurons. BDNF essentially acts as a reset button for the brain. It also helps your brain to process, associate, remember, and apply information to your life. Not only does BDNF help your present cells, but it also helps to make new cells. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is the reason you tend to feel clear headed when you exercise.

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Endorphins are Released in Your Brain When You Exercise

Endorphins are known to make people feel happy. Every time you exercise, your brain releases endorphins into your body. These endorphins fight the discomfort that comes from high stress situations like exercising. Essentially, endorphins help you to feel happy and more comfortable during and after exercise. It is not just the brain that manufactures endorphins, the spinal cord also produces them.

Serotonin and Dopamine are Released in Your Brain When you Exercise

The two most commonly known neurotransmitters released in the body are serotonin and dopamine. This mighty duo is responsible for many of the pleasurable and positive emotions people have. Dopamine focuses on motivation and pleasure from rewards and serotonin is responsible for anxiety and mood. Exercising increases your body’s production of both of these neurotransmitters. Therefore, you feel more motivated and your mood is happier when you exercise.


If anyone asked you why exercising is good for you, you could give them a dozen accurate answers. One of the more common answers would be that exercising makes people feel good. The brain releases numerous chemicals when you exercise that help you feel that way. From a brain saving protein to the terrific team of neurotransmitters, the brain is full of tricks to help you feel good! Other parts of the body help to produce and release the necessary chemicals, but the brain is the chief executive officer of the body. If you ever need to question why exercising is good for your body and mind, a simple quote can change your mind. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make your happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” –Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

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Bailey Longhurst

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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