Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Do you want to improve your mental health and wellbeing as well as your physical health?
Of course you do why wouldn't you!
What ever your reason for hitting the gym, getting fit, losing weight or getting super buff
for that up and coming holiday.
With exercise will come all the benefits of improved strength, weight control, improved posture, a better social life, and the list goes on but did you know of all the amazing changes that also takes place in our brains that will benefit your metal heath?
Having worked out all of my life i wanted to take a closer look at what goes on in my brain when i hit the gym so lets take a closer look at this in more detail.
The Endorphin Rush (Anandamide)
Endorphins are your body’s “feel-good” chemicals.
The increase in blood levels of chemical endorphins are the reason for that natural high feeling after exercise. also known as "Runners High" These chemicals suppress pain and could explain the massive high we feel after exercise.
Some research suggests endorphins are produced during anaerobic exertion, such as HIIT or intense weight training and not during typical aerobic exertion unless you exercise for about an hour,
but these Endorphins can not cross your blood-brain barrier.
so what does cause that euphoria in the brain?
It's Anandamide a neurotransmitter and Endocannabinoid produced in your brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression.
Anandamide is found in chocolate along with other chemicals witch explains why eating it makes you feel so good.
So next time you're feeling low and need that fix get off the sofa and hit the gym for that natural high.
Improves Short and Long Term Memory
Working out could be keeping you sharp.
A 2016 Study taken and published in the journal Current Biology,
Seventy two people partook in a picture-location memory task for about 40 minutes. Then the people were either randomly assigned to 35 minutes of exercise right away, exercise four hours later, or no exercise at all. Two days later the people came back to see how well they remembered what they had learned, and their brains were scanned. The people who exercised hours later had better recall and stronger and more clear activation in the areas of their brain associated with memory retrieval.
Researchers found that exercising four hours after a memory task increased brain patterns associated with memory, and helped people retain information better than people who exercised immediately after or people who did not work out.
Exercise helps the production of a biochemical cascade leading to the production of so called plasticity related proteins,
These proteins help stabilise new memory traces, which would otherwise be lost. Physical exercise is at the start of this sequence, because it is accompanied by the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Exercise for Depression and Anxiety
Being depressed can leave you feeling low in energy,
The links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren't entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better.