Have you ever asked a runner what he or she loves the most about running? The typical answer is, "It makes me feel good". For those of us that aren't so fond of exercise, that response is hard to understand. How can running, which makes you sweaty and hot and uncomfortable, actually make you feel good?
Can Exercise Really Affect Your Mood?
The short answer – absolutely.
Think for a moment about our example with the runner. Some might run when they are feeling stressed. Others go for a jog after an argument or a tough day at work. Why do people say this? Well, because they actually feel different after going for a run. Some report feeling calmer, happier, or stronger. Many runners have reported an experience called "runner's high", which helps them push beyond the physical pain and limits.
It a well-known fact that certain chemicals are released in the brain during and after exercise. These chemicals include endorphins and dopamine, which have an effect on our moods. The body's natural pain killers are endorphins, which are actually stronger than morphine. Endorphins help athletes stay in the game even after an injury.
How Frequent Exercise Can Benefit You
Some scientists have concluded that endorphins improve immune system function and lower blood pressure. They also claim that endorphins have anti-aging effects because they attack superoxides, molecules that are responsible for aging and illness, and that threaten living tissue. They can also raise self-esteem, and reduce anxiety and feelings of depression. Frequent exercise has a direct effect on endorphin release – the more you exercise, the more endorphins you produce each time you exercise!
Dopamine levels are also increased in the brain because of exercise. When you are experiencing low dopamine levels, you can feel mentally foggy and sluggish. Even a low or moderate amount of exercise will cause dopamine levels to increase. Unless you engage in a strenuous workout, dopamine can also help you to get a good night’s sleep.
Chiropractic Care and Exercise
For optimum wellness, combine your new exercise habits with chiropractic care. Aside from the major health benefits of exercise, including weight control and cardiovascular health, exercise also helps to improve your mood, increase pleasure and minimize pain. And when you combine that with a regular chiropractic care schedule, enough sleep and a healthy diet – you have all the makings of a lifestyle that supports optimal wellness and wellbeing!