Know why you feel ‘high’ after exercise? It’s because work-outs prompt your brain to release naturally producing opioids! Even a single exercise session can have a positive effect on human mood and cognition, according to new research published in the journal Brain Plasticity. The study was led by Wendy A. Suzuki, Ph.D., a professor of neural science and psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University (NYU) in New York City.
It was important to study a single exercise session to improve our knowledge of how sustained physical activity over an extended period of time may translate into long-term changes in the brain.
The study showed that acute exercise (single session) always brought down stress levels and improved executive function (processes that help us plan, focus, and multitask) and better mood. A dramatic result of even acute exercise is an increase in the levels neurotransmitters like dopamine, whose deficiency causes Pakinson’s disease.
At a certain level physical activity boosts the production of an anti-depression neurotransmitter called serotonin. It also, prompts the release of endogenous opioids, that is, “feel good” chemical substances that are naturally produced by the brain when we exercise resulting in healthy euphoria.
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