February 21, 2016
Who has ever uttered the words: “I really regret that workout”?
Probably nobody. If you are like most people, every time you complete exercise you come away feeling better and happier. EVERY TIME.
Yes, yes, we all know it’s something about an endorphin release, which makes you feel good…but what’s actually going on in your body when you exercise – and does it really affect the mind?
#1. Happy Chemicals
Dopamine, a lovely ‘happy chemical’ stored in the brain, is a neurotransmitter that is necessary for feelings of pleasure. The not-so-lovely news is that as we age, our stores of dopamine deplete increasingly quickly. This is why as we get older (and a little more sluggish), we need to seek out experiences that release dopamine. And the best method to increase your brain’s dopamine production? You guessed it: physical activity.
#2. Stress Buster
Not only can a workout help you sweat out the day’s worries, regular exercise can also help you become less stressed-out in the long term. This is because your body recognises exercise as a low-level form of stress by raising your heart rate and triggering a burst of hormonal surges, which in turn creates stronger coping reactions in the body.
#3. The Best Medicine
Time and time again, research has proven that active people are less depressed than inactive individuals. Studies on rats indicate that exercise mimics the effects of antidepressants on the brain. Furthermore, mental health trials have concluded that exercise is not only important for treating depression, but also in preventing depression.
#4. Life Is Easier
Happiness is easier to come by when you feel strong and healthy enough to do everything you want to do in daily life. For example, playing with children or grandkids, joining friends in sporting activities, being active with your partner. When this is not a worry and you are fit enough for basic activities, life is richer and fuller… enjoy it!