Sunday, May 1, 2011

Exercise & The Brain

So today I was having an off day after having to leave the wilderness - though it was only just east of Barrie I was still surrounded by trees, water and wildlife. I always have trouble coming back to the city after being in such a peaceful place it seems. Not to 'toot my own horn',as one of my grandparents would say, but I rarely have a day where I don't actually WANT to work out.

Today was one of those days, sadly. I did, however, push myself to work out and that's what this bloggg is about! I even had trouble getting motivated through my warm up which is even more rare, but I pushed through anyways. When I finished the workout I felt great: accomplished, happy, proud that I had worked so hard (and sweat so much), and just had an overall better feeling emanating from myself. I then wondered why this was? It didn't take me long to find out, it seems.

I usually read up, blog and research about physical benefits of nutrition and exercise so my foray into the psychological aspect of it was a new one. It also took me in a direction I didn't expect: depression. I am by no means a depressed person, but like I said earlier everyone has off days. Anxiety also comes into play, but though that was contributing factor today as well, the following works to improve both problems.

Key Components: Endorphins & Anandamide

Endorphins have long been known to be the body's natural pain reliever and antidepressant and are released as a result of exercise (and can actually be found days later in the body after you stop exercising). Anandamide is synthesized in the body from essential fatty acids (which I wont get into here) and being up at the cottage I of course didn't have my Omega 3-6-9's with me nor did I eat any fish while I was there, so this could be partly to blame for my bad mood. Endorphin production occurs during long, strenuous workouts and production is increased more when muscles use up their stored glycogen - which is after about an hour of high intensity training (care of Insanity ;]). This creates what is called the 'runners high' or the happy sensation once you finish.

Sooooo many people use the excuse that they are having a bad day, feel crummy or plain just don't feel like exercising. I guess now those excuses won't fly with me anymore - hah! One more excuse down you fat world of ours.

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