Many people struggle to find happiness. There’s a reason there are shelves full of self-help books and TV channels flooded with products and people bent on selling you the next thing to boost your self esteem and create more happiness in your life.

And while plenty of this stuff might work wonders for people, it’s awfully important to understand that happiness isn’t entirely dependent on these products, or even the advice of experts and gurus.

One scientifically proven pathway to increased happiness is as simple as this: exercise!

There is a chemical, physiological link between your physical wellbeing and your mental wellbeing, and eventually, neglecting physical health will take its toll on happiness.

Not only do we get tremendous rushes of those “feel good” chemicals when we put some strain on our bodies, but studies also show that people who exercise feel better (more confident) about their bodies, regardless of any physical changes resulting from that exercise.

There really is something to the idea of “getting your blood pumping” that manifests in tangible boosts to happiness. Exercise relieves stress, gets oxygen moving through the body, and just makes us feel better about being in our own skin.

The best part about all of this – there’s no magic number or formula, no rigorous routine you’re supposed to follow to exercise your way to happiness. Instead, just start moving!

Even just walking for 15 or 20 minutes will stimulate brain activity and release endorphins. The amount of exercise you get is entirely up to you, just know that there’s more at stake than shedding a few pounds.

Really, we don’t even need to think of it as “exercise” (which can have all sorts of negative, potentially stressful associations with gym memberships, diets, routines, and all of that) – instead, focus on movement.

Take a bike ride, go for a walk, play a sport, play with your dog, wrestle around with the kids, play a Wii or Kinect, climb a hill, go for a swim – just enjoy yourself and get your body moving. It will do wonders for your mind and soul.