We have always been told that playing sports is very good for our health. But how much truth is there in this? How can exercising affect our body and mind? The Romans already said it centuries ago: mens sana in corpore sana. And yes, exercise is good for all parts of our body and for the mind. Why does exercising feel so good?
Sport provides immediate and long-term benefits for our brain. It is capable of preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, it also makes us happier and more active. Those responsible for the latter are 3 hormones: serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Each one of them fulfils a function in our body after and during training, whatever the type.
Serotonin: the Hormone of Happiness
This substance is released after practising physical activity and directly influences our mood and inner peace. The increase in this neurotransmitter causes us to move away from depressive episodes.
In addition to being closely related to happiness, the increase in this hormone stimulates the feeling of calm, which helps us to better sleep and regulate food intake.
Likewise, it also performs other types of functions such as controlling sexual appetite or reducing anxiety, fear and aggressiveness.
Dopamine and Addiction
This hormone is linked to addictions and, although no addiction is good, not even to sports, dopamine allows us to feel pleasure after exercising. That pleasant sensation creates a link with the activity carried out and that is why we get hooked on it.
The good levels of dopamine caused by sports imply a reduction in the search for that sensation of pleasure in other less healthy acts, such as the consumption of tobacco or sweets.
Endorphins, a Cocktail of Joy and Euphoria
These work as a natural pain reliever, which is why they are responsible for reducing the feeling of pain, such as anxiety and stress. His release is immediate after practising some kind of sport.
Endorphins appear as quickly as they disappear from our body. However, our body is capable of remembering them and it is in charge of pushing us to do again what generated happiness in us.