Happy, happy, happy!

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So Pharrell Williams sings about it, and how can you not sing along with him and his catchy tune, but are you really happy? What is happiness and how do we get it?

Well according to recent research it’s not hard to have happiness, health, better brainpower and calmer nerves with just a simple thing: Daily Exercise. I know you are shocked right? Here we go again you think, with this exercise thing.

Most of the time our daily life is just so complicated, so let's just keep this simple so we can appreciate how basic this need is for us in our life everyday. The definition of exercise is an activity where physical effort is needed to improve and sustain health. Physical effort is the key word here, and you must choose to engage in it. I don’t mean you all need to run out and start Cross-fit, this is often too aggressive of a way for you to start if you have no current level of fitness. You just need to start something: walking, biking, hiking 30-60 minutes a day.

So what happens when we exercise in the body and the brain?

Exercise re-trains the brain to think differently by bathing it in endorphins, which are our own natural opiates. Self-care is not selfish; it is necessary for us to be well.

Exercise stimulates the bladder and bowel to function efficiently and facilitates a healthy sex life by increasing blood flow to the pelvic floor region.

Judy Foreman in her book “A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem” in 2014 states that anxiety and depression occur because the brain is not responding normally due to chronic pain levels. Becoming stronger eases the sense of disempowerment common with chronic pain. Chronic pain is any pain that you have had for over 6 months.

Stimulation of bone and muscle health occurs with resistive exercise training. So lift weights 3x a week to increase the body’s function.

A reduction in falls occurs with core trunk strength training and balance training activities in the older population.

In a Dutch study in 2006, it was found that people who exercise were less anxious and had less depression and were more outgoing overall.

A good exercise regime allows us to live mindfully and therefore can improve our sleep.

People who exercised at their lunchtime actually were more productive, had less stress and had less injury on their job.

A three-month exercise regime increased blood flow to the part of your brain that is focused on memory and learning by 30%.

German researchers found in their 2007 study that being in good shape increases you ability to learn. After exercise, people in their study picked up new vocabulary words 20% faster.

So put on your headphones and take Pharrell out with you for at least 30-60 mins a day and get happy, happy, happy!

• • •

Sheree DiBiase, PT, is a the owner of Lake City Physical Therapy and she and her staff can be reached in Coeur d’Alene office at (208) 667-1988 and it their Spokane Valley office at (509) 891-2623.

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