07 Nov 2016
If your body feels good, then so will your mind. Exercise produces endorphins in the body. Along with improving your ability to sleep, these chemicals also assist in reducing stress. Physical activity can also help to promote a focus on your body, rather than your mind. This shift in concentration will also assist in alleviating your stress levels.
Studies have shown that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve. After half an hour of strenuous exercise, your brain works harder to resist distracters, and release a range of feel-good endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals help to distract you from the aspects of life that may be causing you stress, enabling you to focus on the task at hand.
It turns out that a “runner’s high” can offer you more than just a mood boost. The same antidepressant-like effects associated with "runner's high" found in humans is associated with a drop in stress hormones. A study from Stockholm showed the antidepressant effect of running was also associated with an increase in cell growth in the hippocampus. This area of the brain is responsible for learning and memory. A brief 20-minute exercise session can facilitate the information processing and memory functions of your brain, improving your ability to recall information.
You’re only one workout away from a good mood. Literally. After a good workout, endorphins and serotonin will release in the brain, improving your mood and decreasing your stress levels. Additionally, frequent exercise can help to better process negative emotions and engage the ventral prefrontal cortex (part of the brain that processes negative emotions like fear and helps us decide whether certain situations are risky or not).
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