Exercise Increases A Variety Of Substances That Play An Important Role In Brain Function

Staying active can benefit so many aspects of your health and can even prevent physical and mental health symptoms from worsening. It’s important to incorporate exercise daily to ensure your body and your mind are healthy.

Exercising Benefits Nearly All Aspects Of A Person’s Health

In addition to helping control weight, it can improve the chances of living longer, the strength of bones and muscles, and your mental health.

When A Person Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise, They Are At Increased Risk For Health Problems

These include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and metabolic syndrome.2

BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) is a protein that creates and protects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain helps these cells to transmit messages more efficiently, and regulates depression-like behaviors.3,4
Endorphins are a type of chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) that is released when we experience stress or pain to reduce their negative effects and increase pleasure throughout the body.5 Endorphins are also responsible for the euphoric feeling known as a “runner’s high” that happens after long periods of intense exercise.
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that increases during exercise. It plays a role in sending messages about appetite, sleep, and mood.6 It is the target of medications known as SSRIs or SNRIs, which are used to treat anxiety and depression.
Dopamine is involved in controlling movement and the body’s reward response system. Due to its role in how the body perceives rewards, it is heavily involved with addictions. When amounts of this chemical messenger are low, it is linked to mental health conditions including depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis.7
Glutamate and GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) both act to regulate the activity of nerve cells in the parts of the brain that process visual information, determine heart rate, and affect emotions and the ability to think clearly.8 Low levels of GABA have been linked to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and mood disorders.9