Have you ever noticed the boost you get after a bout of exercise? There are a number of reasons. Exercise equalizes the amounts of glucose, leptin, and insulin in your body, helps keep you alert, increases sexual function, improves the health of your skin, elevates mood, helps you sleep, creates the conditions necessary for your nerve cells to replicate–thereby helping keep your brain at peak performance–and the list goes on and on.
We all know the benefits of exercise, but not all of us know that spreading it out during the course of a week can help even more than if you stuff a hardcore workout here or there. In other words, you won’t get the same beneficial effects of exercise if you do it one day and then sit around to play video games the next. Exercise needs to be consistent, and that’s what you’re likely doing wrong.
Exercise can also help you get outside. That’s a good thing, because another key ingredient to happiness is a lot of vitamin D. Because of genome sequencing, we now know that vitamin D plays a part in perhaps 2,000 genes. You can consume the vitamin through food or supplements, but the best means of consumption is via the sun. Vitamin D plays a role in keeping our immune system healthy, and also helps us absorb other vitamins and nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous.
Even if all you do is take a long walk in the sun, you’ll still notice elevated amounts of energy over the next few days. That’s because vitamin D regulates mood in order to combat depression, helps you lose weight, and combats disease–so keep at it!
The third key to happiness is one of the most important, and can influence anything else you do to keep yourself upbeat: get enough sleep! Believe it or not, the way your brain works changes when you don’t sleep. Scientists at Western University in Ontario found that brains are much less active with less sleep, and can lead to a number of psychiatric conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, etc.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to do everything we need to do, but these are three of the most important. Exercise regularly, get outside for some good old-fashioned vitamin D and get enough sleep.