Physical activity can greatly improve your mental well-being. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins have a wealth of positive effects.
They are our natural antidepressants and painkillers. They act in a similar way to morphine however, unlike taking drugs such as morphine, if we produce these natural substances they do not lead to addiction or dependence. Our natural endorphins like morphine can cause us to feel happier. For example that feeling after going for a run is often described as ‘Euphoric.’ This “runners high” is often accompanied by an energized and positive outlook on life.
Endorphins by interacting with receptors in your brain act as natural painkillers. They bind to the same receptors as pain medications and can cause the same effects. Therefore those suffering with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia can find that exercise, gently introduced and then increased, can make a huge difference to their daily suffering and can allow sufferers to reduce their pain medications. Regular exercise has been proven to:
Reduce stressBoost self-esteemWard off anxiety and feelings of depressionImprove sleep
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
It increases energy levels.It lowers blood pressure.It helps reduce body fat.It strengthens your heart.It improves muscle tone and strength.It strengthens and builds bones.It makes you look fit and healthy.
Can Exercise be a Treatment for Clinical Depression? Exercise has been proven to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression in research trials but it is often underused.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will discuss what types of exercise to do and finding the best types for you!
Source: Dr julian