Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Mental Benefits of Exercise

The American Heart Association recommends 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. Most of us have heard of the term "runner's high". During exercise the body's pituitary gland causes a release of endorphins that cause this good feeling. These neurotransmitters not only reduce the body's awareness to pain but also will elevate one's mood. Studies have also shown that people who suffer from depression also have low levels of serotonin. Serotonin or 5-HT is produced by the body's pineal gland by an amino acid called tryptophan when you keep you heart rate up for 20-30 minutes. Increased serotonin will elevate your mood and help you sleep better as well.
Finally with exercise comes an undisputed increase of blood flow to the brain. This increase in blood flow will make you more alert. With increased blood flow, the brain is also able to eliminate waste products that accumulate during the thinking process. This may explain why we often have so many good ideas when we walk.

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