Many years ago I was in a very stressful job and the doctor prescribed anti-depressants to help me cope. I was on the pills for 10 days when I decided to go off them and I started running. I researched other methods that fought against stress, anxiety and depression as I believed there was a natural way to manage and cope with my life. I soon realized that regular exercise reduced my stress, helped stabilize my mood and gave me way more energy. I was in my early 20’s when I made this discovery and physical activity became part of my life which then became my lifestyle.
You may be wondering why exercise can help you heal. Here is a little more about what happens in our bodies while exercising. During physical exercise chemicals are released called endorphins. Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to morphine. Not only are endorphins released but exercise also releases dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. All three of these chemicals stimulate the brain and help to regulate your mood. Serotonin is what is found in anti-depressants to help raise your chemical levels just as exercise does naturally.
Regular physical activity not only fights against stress, anxiety and depression but it also strengthens the heart, as the heart is a muscle. It helps keep arteries and veins clear. It strengthens your lungs, and controls your weight. It also reduces blood sugar levels and prevents cancer. It regulates blood pressure, improves energy and enhances emotional well-being.
So really the question is “what does exercise not heal?” For every health concern or emotional challenge I have faced, exercise has been my healer. It changes my mood, brings clarity through the chaos and calmness in the storm. Whether combined with other Doctor prescribed drugs or on its on, exercise is and will always be my drug of choice.
Tara Lasko – Believing Exercise Heals