There is a strong connection between exercise and attitude through because of how physical activity impacts the regulation of hormone levels and neurochemical activity.
Exercise, especially cardio, wakes up the body and brain by increasing the flow of oxygen to the cells and tissues and increasing brain activity (through neurotransmitters). This improves one’s mood, sleep, and energy levels which impacts how one’s overall attitude towards life.
The Functions of Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers to the brain, which dictate every single movement, thought, and emotion that we may have. There are three that are directly impacted by exercise: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Firstly, dopamine aids in movement, pleasure, and motivation. Next, norepinephrine, as both a stress hormone and neurotransmitter, aids in reflex time, attention to detail, arousal, and alertness. Lastly, serotonin aids in mood regulation, behavior regulation, sex drive, appetite and digestion and sleep. So, engaging in enough physical activity helps to ensure that the body runs optimally.
How Does This Apply?
To put it into perspective, regular physical activity increases blood flow to your brain and muscles, which then increases neural activity, making the body run more efficiently while decreasing levels of physical stress (stress hormones, such as cortisol). This helps to decrease anxiety and increase sleep quality and duration. With lowered stress levels and better sleep, it can help improve mood and motivation. However, when we have a deficiency in dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, it can cause us to have issues with fatigue, lethargy, depression, and sleep. This means that having a regular exercise routine can have a profound impact on we consistently think and feel — our attitude.
Our overall attitude is based on we think and feel. To improve attitude, it is important make sure that the body feels and runs well.