By Alane Archer, ND, CNC
Let’s Beat Depression!
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain.They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence. You have a few neurotransmitters that you experience daily on a low or high.
Dopamine is attracted by novelty, logical reasoning and muscle movement. Dopamine regulates processes that regulate movement, posture, blood pressure and more!
Serotonin is one of the most popular neurotransmitters since it affects our emotional state. Exercise raises our serotonin levels improving its balance
Norepinephrine in the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the heart, blood vessels, sweat glands, the large internal organs, and the adrenal medulla in the brain. Like dopamine, norepinephrine has a stimulating effect, fosters alertness, and plays an important regulatory role in long-term memory and learning
Endorphins are your brain built in chemical system that helps us go through pain and also induce mild euphoria. Exercise it is the absolute best way for raising our endorphins levels and trigger that feeling of the ‘runners high.”
Regular exercise has been proven to:
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
It has been shown that physically active people recover from mild depression more quickly, and physical activity is strongly correlated with good mental health as people age. Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise increases concentrations of these neurotransmitters by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.
Your exercise is to exercise! Get your heart rate up and challenge your muscles. While a walk is good, make sure it is a brisk, quick walk, that makes talking difficult. Resistance training has immediate and lasting benefits! No one ever regrets a workout!
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