Monday, March 22, 2021

Why Exercising Makes You Feel Good.


It is well known that exercising makes you feel better and helps eliminate stress at the same time.  It can energize you while helping you face the rest of the day but how does exercise do this?  Let's start at the beginning by looking at stress.

Stress is something most of us face every day.  It might be from work, from the kids, or life in general but it is there.  It can effect our health so we end up in poorer shape.  Stress can also increase the possibility of depression.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help counter stress and possibly depression.  When you exercise, your heart rate increases which in turn causes your blood to flow better through the body.  As the blood flows, it brings more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. In addition, exercising helps release specific proteins designed to keep brain cells healthy while helping new neurons form.  

Furthermore, exercising releases certain chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin,  and dopamine which help the brain.  Endorphins are made up of a large chain of  peptides  produced by the pituitary gland and the central nervous system. Endorphins are designed to reduce pain while increasing the feeling of well-being.  At the same time, it also reduces anxiety and stress, and helps you loose weight.

On the other hand, dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that sends messages between the nerve and brain cells in your body. This chemical helps us focus, feel pleasure, and find things interesting.  Dopamine is made out of the amino acid tyrosine by the body using a two step process.  It helps lower blood pressure, increase the feeling of well-being but too much of this can create issues.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter sometimes called a hormone that helps us maintain our good mood, sense of well being, and helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion.  Serotonin actually enables cells from the brain to communicate with cells from the brain with cells with cells from other parts of the body.  It is produced by the intestine and the brain because it cannot cross the brain - blood barrier so the brain must produce it's own.

In addition to producing these good chemicals, exercising gets rid of the chemicals that cause you anxiety and stress such as cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is one of the hormones associated with stress and trauma.  It is produced by the adrenal gland at the top of the kidneys.  When you have too much cortisol it can cause your systems to get out of whack and cause issues.

So how much exercise is suggested to keep us feeling good?  It is suggested a person get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of aerobic exercise each week but the good news is that it doesn't have to be done in a gym.  It can be done by taking regular walks around the neighborhood, or hit the swimming pool during lap time.  One can take the stairs or park in the farthest reaches of the mall, perform squats when picking up things off the floor.  

Once it gets warm enough, I take long walks around the neighborhood but one route has me going through an area with tons of mosquitoes but it's quiet or I follow the bike path next to the highway with lots of noise.  I keep DVD's to use during the winter and on bad weather days.  It's not hard to work  exercise into your daily routine.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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