Anxiety, stress, depression, and moodiness are issues that just about everyone face at some point in their lifetime. Many people even use medication to keep such problems under control. But there is a free, natural alternative that anyone can use to combat these negative forces – exercise. Some don’t exercise because of the work involved; it’s oftentimes easier to just pop a pill. But finding the right medication can be challenging, especially for depression patients because of adverse side effects Interestingly enough, one particular study found that engaging in moderate exercise several times a week often yielded the same benefits as antidepressants. And, it didn’t take long to start seeing results – most noticed a change in about a week. The reason that exercise is so effective in improving symptoms of mood dysfunction is because it produces a natural high. After glycogen stores from the muscles are consumed, the body is flooded with endorphins, which are the feel good chemicals released in the brain. Usually endorphins are only released with strenuous exercise, but sometimes it doesn’t take as long for those who don’t exercise on a regular basis to feel the rush. Exercise is not only effective for improving symptoms of depression. Exercise can boost anyone’s mood, and it might be just what someone needs to get motivated. People who exercise also describe feeling more alert and claim to have more energy. Additionally, studies show that including exercise in one’s routine can help improve self-esteem – especially in women. In today’s self-conscious world, the pressures to stay in shape are tremendous. Exercise makes women feel good about themselves, and research shows that even if the scale doesn’t move, exercise is beneficial because it changes the ways women perceive their bodies. Instead of judging the body just on the way it looks, women will be more apt to concentrate on what it is capable of doing. The benefits of exercise are endless. Conversely, the lack of exercise in one’s life can result in chronic pain. Especially in the era of the couch potato and cubicle life style; exercise can help people live happier, more fulfilling lives.