You have probably heard:
- exercise boosts your mood
- “runners’ high”
- endorphin rush
- exercise helps fight depression
but WHY? What is it about exercising that makes us feel better? Why is exercise prescribed to help treat depression and trauma recovery?
Scientists looking at what happens to our muscles when we move discovered that our muscles can sythesize proteins and peptides and release them into the blood stream. These are called Myokines.
“so what” you might say.
Well, these myokines that are released, affect every system in our bodies and have been linked to:
- killing cancer cells
- boosting immunity
- reducing inflammation
- regulating blood sugar
- improved cardio vascular health
- improved mental resilience
They are released them into the body when muscles are contracted in a regular way. And here’s the good news: Any exercise/movement counts!
Myokines are the reason exercise is good for your health and reduces risk of disease.
Here’s where the “hope molecules” come in: these myokines have the strongest effect on the brain – they can actually change the structure of the brain to make us more resilient to stress; have an antidepressant effect and can help innoculate against the effects of trauma.
Another bit of good news – ALL muscles can produce Hope Molecules, so if you can’t move your legs, you can grab some light weights and do some bicep curls. If you can’t do that, maybe you can contract your tummy muscles.
Any and all movement helps support your health and brain resilience.
Remember: Your Choices Matter. Moving your body is your choice – you can don’t have to join a gym or sports club, you can move anywhere, anytime and help boost your mood
This is accessible to EVERYONE and every little bit helps, but increasing the intensity of your workout will also increase the amount of myokines released into the blood stream.
Some key tips you might like to consider:
- do something you enjoy – it’s easier to stick to
- exercise outside in green space for great effect
- music can help keep you moving and motivated
- you can break your movement down into 10 minute blocks and still get the benefits
Exercise for the way it makes you feel, not as a punishment or chore.