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Exercising is often thought of tiring and exhausting. But a high amount of intense exercise can not only lead to making you feel physically great right after but can mentally rewarding in the prevention of depression.
Some people have been known to experience what is known as a “runner’s high,” a term once thought of as just a myth but recent research has shown it to actually be real. A “runner’s high” is more than just feeling good or relaxed after working out, but rather a feeling of euphoria, which some athletes have described as “mind altering” or the feeling of being at the top of their potential or even on top of the world.
A runner’s high is the release of brain chemicals known as endorphins that act as neurotransmitters and help prevent you from feeling pain as you physically exert yourself. Serotonin, another neurotransmitter, is also produced when exercising and is known to help prevent depression. Studies show regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in the brain. Higher levels of serotonin can enhance the mood and mental well-being. Appetite and sleep can also benefit from higher levels of serotonin and the release of endorphins.
The more you work out, and the higher the intensity of workout, the more serotonin, endorphins and other brain chemicals your body will release.
Serotonin also works to balance more stress-oriented brain chemicals such as adrenaline, which is burned off with exercise. This is why exercise is great not only for relieving stress physically, but stimulating positive brain chemistry that is key for mental well-being.
There are some types of exercise that have been linked to runner’s high more than others. Aerobic and cardiovascular workouts can elevate the heartbeat, which improves circulation in the brain, leading to healthy brain functions and brain chemistry. Doctors recommend doing thirty minutes of aerobic exercise per day, four or five days a week to help regulate body and brain functions against depression.
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