A Surprising New Connection Between Exercise and Mood

| 2 min read

woman runner athlete running on forest trail
Much has been said about how working out is a great way to feel happier, but the focus is usually on endorphins. Whenever you exercise, your body boosts production of endorphins, which are a neurotransmitter linked to feeling good. That’s why after a good run or game of tennis, you feel happier, relaxed and less stressed.
But recently, experts discovered a new way that exercise helps lower depression. Swedish researchers found that working out removes a substance from the blood that builds up when stressed. That substance is linked to depression, which helps explain that post-exercise mood lift. The cardio actually works like a detox by ridding that harmful chemical from your body.
That’s not the only new research out lately about this topic. Another new study, this one from University College London, showed that participating in physical exercise three times a week reduces risk of depression by about 19 percent. And any additional workouts in a week reduced the risk for depression by another six percent.
Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, researchers found that those who are depressed are less likely to engage in physical activity, contributing to a circle of a sedentary lifestyle and depression. If going to the gym is the last thing you feel like doing, try adding in a few activities into your day like gardening or walking your dog. Any sort of movement can help you feel better, which will make you want to move even more.
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