Study: Is Exercise the New Prozac?

In the current issue of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, researchers from Pennsylvania State University published a study linking physical activity to feelings of excitement and enthusiasm.

Researchers asked 190 individuals to keep daily diaries and record variables such as physical activity (and its intensity), sleep quantity and quality, mental states, stress levels, etc. Based on the data, researchers concluded that active individuals experience more excitement and enthusiasm – and that these pleasant feelings occur in greater amounts on days with more activity.

According to Amanda Hyde, one of the researchers:

Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well. Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise.

Everyone knows that exercise has longer term health benefits. It can help build muscle, burn fat and decrease risk of illness and disease. But knowing that exercise also has short term rewards – that it can make you feel great today – can be a huge motivator for uninspired individuals.

And on a personal note, I can attest to these findings with my own experience. For me, exercise is the ultimate pick-me-up and mood improver. Whenever I exercise early in the morning, I have zest and enthusiasm to create a wonderful day for myself.

Does your personal experience align with these findings? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. I’m right there with ya! Since I started going to the gym around 5 AM every morning, my days go much, much better. I’m happier, ready to go, and am more productive. I sleep better at night and feel better throughout my day. I’m a happy pup because of it!

  2. Hell yes! If it wasn’t for exercise, I would have been on meds or institutionalised by now.

  3. I’m so glad one of my friends has become my workout buddy again! We get our workout done at night, but it still works wonders! I feel more confident about my body, which elevates my mood, i feel physically better, my mind is clearer, and I’m out like a light at night.

  4. Work is slow and the Minnesota winter is long. Exercise is the way I try to keep positive during these harder times. Not always easy!

  5. This is completely accurate. I struggle with a bit of mild depression myself but ever since I started exercising a few weeks ago I have noticed my bad spells don’t come around at all! Exercising pushes negative thought out of my head and gives me hope and strength to get through the day. I am absolutely addicted.

  6. I thought we already knew this.

    “Exercise gives you endorphins.
    Endorphins make you happy.
    Happy people don’t kill their husbands.”

  7. christopher says:

    well-i think this subject was mentioned a few months ago.but it needs to be mentioned time and time again.ive taken anti-depressants for quite some years now.Prozac i take in small dossage every other day-used to take it daily-and half dossage of zyprexa and trazadone.this exercise diet sleep regimen is working for the proof positive greater activities have helped in ways i could never have imagined more than one year convinced-my friends are Parents are on the fence about it.However-the individual dealing with it-in the here in now can only know-and i know its working for me.working days-working out early evening is the best.for me time management is key right now.