In stressful situations, our brain releases increased levels of stress hormones which cause our bodies to react in several ways. Mental stress can materialize into physical problems, like chest tightness or headaches. We may feel overwhelmed, irritable, or maybe even a little sweaty.
Finding ways to combat the stressors we encounter in our day-to-day lives can be beneficial to both our short-term and long-term health.
Exercise is a great way to lower elevated stress levels. Studies found that exercise causes our brains release certain neurotransmitters that lower the amount of stress hormones.
Neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, endorphins, and serotonin are chemical signals released with exercise.
Norepinephrine: Researchers found that exercise is linked to increases in the brain concentration of norepinephrine. About 50% of our brain’s supply of norepinephrine comes from an area connecting the brain regions responsible for emotional and stress responses: the locus coeruleus.
Endorphins: Endorphins are our internal pain relievers. These neurochemicals increase pain tolerance and provide a sense of euphoria. The pain tolerance and euphoria explain why we experience a ‘runner’s high’ after a jog and feel great after a long workout.
Serotonin: An increase in serotonin allows for better communication between brain cells. This sharpens our memory, regulates our mood, and gives an overall feeling of happiness.
At Caravan Wellness, we offer the largest variety of workout classes designed to help you improve your physical health and mental health. Click here to explore our video library.
American Psychological Association. “Working out boosts brain health.” Exercise Fitness, March 2020, https://www.apa.org/topics/exercise-fitness/stress.
Hackney, PhD, Anthony C. “Stress and the neuroendocrine system: the role of exercise as a stressor and modifier of stress.” Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab., vol. 1, no. 6, 2006, pp. 783- 792, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2953272/.