Happy Workouts!

January 13, 2011

We often talk about the benefits of exercise to personal fitness, strong immune systems and ability to fight off disease. Just as exciting are the positive effects of a physical regimen on mental health and acuity. Recently, number of studies have shown that exercise not only releases endorphins in the brain, it is one of the few ways scientists have discovered to create new neurons! This neurogenesis -- the creation of new neurons -- occurs in the hippocampus, which is the center of learning and memory in the brain. The specific mechanism behind the creation of these neurons is still being explored, but studies show that the effects of these new neurons are more than protective, they are reparative. This is indicated in a comparison between sedentary and active mice, where scientists found that active mice regenerated more sciatic axons --  long, slender projections of a nerve cell that makes contact with other cells, usually other neurons but sometimes muscle or gland cells, at junctions called synapses -- post-injury than sedentary mice. This emphasizes the importance of exercise as we age, when the brain starts to lose nerve tissue.Additionally, the studies suggest that there may be preventative and therapeutic effects against diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's where the loss of neurons occurs. Endorphins are chemicals released by the pituary gland which give relief from pain. They are also believed to enhance the immune system; reduce stress; and delay the aging process. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins sending these chemicals throughout the body. Endorphin release does vary between individuals, but this relief usually occurs within approximately 30 minutes after the beginning of physical activity. While vigorous aerobic exercise is a strong stimulant leading to endorphin release, other activities such as meditation, acupuncture or massage therapy can lead to natural endorphin production. These two factors, neurogensis and the release of endorphins enhance the positive effects of exercise on mental and psychological health.
  • Physical activity reduces depression and anxiety.
  • Therapists also report that patients who exercise regularly are less likely to overeat or abuse alcohol and drugs.
  • Exercise can reduce anxiety - many studies have come to this conclusion. As little as five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
  • Physical exercise helps to counteract the withdrawal, inactivity and feelings of hopelessness that characterize depression.
  • Moods such as tension, fatigue, anger and vigor are all positively affected by exercise.
  • Exercising can improve the way you perceive your physical condition, athletic abilities and body image.
  • Exercise extends brain health and positive self-image into your senior years.
Those aerobics will strengthen your smile muscles too!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Peters Principles Community 2

Heading Off Osteoarthritis

April 17, 2014

Nearly all of us will come down with osteoarthritis at some point in our lives. That's why a good prevention strategy is key!

Read More

Fitness Pays Off!

April 10, 2014

It's spring and many of us are striving for our personal peak in physical fitness. Whether we want to look better, to feel better, or to fulfill a personal goal, the fact is, exercise effects a lot more than our waistlines!

Read More

This Week with Peter Nielsen

April 10, 2014

This Week with Peter Nielsen

Read More

GET MY NEWSLETTER

KEEP HEALTHY FOR LIFE