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Exercise Elevates Mood – The Science Behind It!

It is a well known fact that people who workout feel much more happier than others. Even runners agree that running does make them feel better. Whether a sprinter or just a recreational jogger or a marathoner, all would say the same thing about running. Here are what they say – “Running gives me a strong feeling”, “Whenever stressed, I run”. These statements gives us a clear cut idea on the effect of exercise on our mood. To know how exercise elevates the mood, we must know the physiological changes that goes inside the brain. Read on to explore a little bit more about the neurochemicals in the brain that gets elevated and has an impact on your mood.

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How Does Exercise Elevate Your Mood?
The elevation of the mood occurs mainly due to the four major neurochemicals – Serotonin, Dopamine, Epinephrine and Endorphin.

  • Serotonin helps to elevate the mood and increase the feelings of satiety as the serotonin levels increases after a long workout or a run. It works even if the intensity is at moderate levels.
  • Epinephrine is responsible for the flight or fight response. It increases the heart rate and elevates the temperature. It stimulates the voluntary muscle contraction. Also, it is elevated when we exercise at a very high intensity and is found to relieve stress, anxiety, exhaustion and depression.
  • Dopamine is responsible for the sleeping and waking cycle. The dopamine levels can be elevated by increasing the serotonin levels and hence, moderate intensity of exercise can elevate the levels of dopamine. This is the reason why doctors suggest mild to moderate exercise before going to bed especially, for people suffering from insomnia.
  • Endorphins are the natural painkillers and these reduce the physical pain associated with exercise. It helps us do physical activities that are usually stopped due to pain. The endorphins levels increase with the frequency of exercise.

Hence, exercise of any kind has a positive effect on all the four neurochemicals and thereby, elevates the mood. To some extent, even the type of exercise performed does matter. Some of the exercises that are effective in lifting the moods are biking, gardening, housework like mopping and sweeping. Other forms of exercise include low impact aerobics, walking, swimming, yoga and jogging at a moderate pace.

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Other Health Benefits of Exercise
Regular exercise has proven that it not only helps in elevating the mood of a person but also has other health benefits, according to the Web MD. These health benefits include:

  • It strengthens the heart
  • Reduces the body fat
  • Builds and strengthens the bones
  • Improves the muscle tone
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases the energy levels
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Boosts the self esteem and reduces the feelings of depression
  • Improves the sleep pattern

Donna Kritz Silverstein, an associate professor of family and preventive medicine from the UCSD School of Medicine, states that to reap the beneficial effects of exercise on mood, you need to exercise continuously.

So, try your hand in choosing the suitable form of exercise that fits your personality best and create the mood you want as different intensities of exercise has different chemical responses in the body. Set goals and start engaging yourself in exercise that elevates your mood. So, breathe deeply and release the tension by regular exercise, which chases the blues away!

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