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The Happiness Effect: How Exercise Makes You Happy

The HAPPINESS EFFECT

By Apage



Most of us have heard the term "runner's high." But what exactly does this mean? Exercise creates chemical responses in the brain, which lead to both temporary and long term mental health benefits. Here's how it all works:



How Exercise Makes You Happy



What happens when we are stressed?



Cortisol

This stress hormone is linked to mood, motivation and fear. It also alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system.



Adrenaline

This stress hormone raises your heart rate, elevates blood pressure, and boosts energy stores.



Hypothalamus

This region of the brain is the body's natural alarm system which prompts the production of cortisol and adrenaline.



Hippocampus

Too much cortisol short circuits cell production in the brain's hippocampus region, impairing thought organization and memory formation.



Long term stress leads to:



Heart disease

Sleep disorders

Digestive problems

Obesity

Depression

Increased skin problems

Memory impairment



Feeling overwhelmed?

Hit the gym!



As your heart begins to pound, your brain chemistry reacts almost immediately to get you feeling better both physically and mentally.



BDNF

GABA

Endocannabinoids

Endorphins

Seratonin

Dopamine

Antibodies

Norepinephrine



Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)



BDNF protects the brain from emotional disorders and repairs the damage from stress and depression.



Norepinephrine



This neurotransmitter works with dopamine as a "feel good" mood boosting chemical. It is also critical in the decision making process.



GABA



Exercise lowers stress levels, which triggers the release of this calming neurotransmitter. Frequent boosts of GABA builds immunity to stress, enhancing your ability to take on life's challenges.



Antibodies



Both exercise and happiness increase antibody production. Antibodies are special proteins produced by the immune system to help fight viruses, bacteria, and diseases.



Endocannabinoids



These natural chemical compounds play a role in processing appetite, pain, sensation, mood, and memory. They are very closely related to the active ingredients of the cannabis plant.



Dopamine



This neurotransmitter is a "feel good" mood boosting chemical. It also controls the brain's reward and pleasure center and is responsible for feelings of relaxation and euphoria.



Endorphins



Endorphins usually get most of the credit for feelings of euphoria, but they play on a small part in the exercise-induced rush. These pain fighting peptides increase with as little as 20 minutes of exercise.



Serotonin



This neurotransmitter is responsible for feelings of serenity and hopefulness. Low levels are linked to depression. SSRI antidepressants increase these levels, and so does exercise.



Be careful!



Intense exercise can weaken the immune system during the recovery period following the workout.



Did you know?



Working out on your lunch break can boost your productivity for up to 3 hours following a workout.

The Happiness Effect: How Exercise Makes You Happy

shared by HealthCentral on Apr 09, 2013 in Health

The Happiness Effect: How Exercise Makes You Happy

shared by HealthCentral on Apr 09, 2013 in Health

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Exercise creates chemical responses in the brain, which lead to both temporary and long term mental health benefits. Here's how it all works:
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