How Exercises Influence Hormones And Mental Health

Sakshi Agarwal

14th January, 2021

Living in an era that is facing exponential growth towards metabolic syndrome and obesity, improvisations in lifestyle could act as a cost-effective medium to improve health conditions leading to a better quality of life. The human body seems so much complicated to us but in real terms, it is as simple as a well-developed machine. Taking an example from a different domain, a machine is made to give us useful outputs which depend on numerous factors like the input given, proper greasing and oiling of every part present, and so on. If one looks carefully, the same applies to the human body too. The healthier and fitter one keeps his body, which in turn suggests giving a slight extra input, the better output it provides in any work. Here better input means maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having healthy foods, and getting accustomed to daily exercises and yoga, whereas a fit and healthy body refers to better output. Mental health is not only characterized by the mechanism of the internal organs of our body, but by the proper functioning of the whole body. This would only happen if one maintains a proper synchronization between the input one gives in and the output one wants.  

   

There is a general misconception among people that exercises are done to keep track of their body weight and give a toned shape to their body. There lies a pile of information and facts beyond this. No denial of the fact that the habit of daily exercising is the best one a man can practice, but people need to get more aware about the work they are indulging themselves into, which costs sparing some valuable time from their daily routine. 

Lifestyle modifications can act as a boon for individuals with serious mental illness. Physical exercises stand in the first place when it comes to lifestyle modification. But this is the most neglected intervention when it comes to healthcare. Generation after generation things are getting faster and people are getting more advanced. Everyone has hectic daily schedules and are willing to spend money on medicines and healthcare procedures to achieve fast results. But things like exercising needs both patience and time, but provides long term solutions to problems.

Moving on to the hormonal side, the effect of graded exercise leads to a rise in cortisol, prolactin, growth hormone, and stimulating hormone (FSH) during the period of working out. A rise in luteinizing hormone becomes evident only after rest. (M. J. Gawel, n.d.) When our body gets a daily dose of proper exercise, it releases chemicals like serotonin, cortisol, and endorphins which are mood-boosting hormones. The inflow of such hormones in our body results in the improvement of mood. These sudden improvements in moods are proposed to be caused by an exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain. It acts as a positive medicine for people undergoing depression, stress, and anxiety, as it creates a direct influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis of the brain.

There is a hike in the dopamine levels in the brain, which decreases stress, famously known as “runners-high” as it enhances those “feel-good” transmitters. Spike in serotonin levels which is the reason why most doctors recommend a healthy dose of exercise to those suffering insomnia and sleep apnea. The symptoms of menopause are in part driven by the imbalance and fall in the levels of estrogen. The best and most effective way to combat this is consistent exercise. This is so because getting one’s heart rate up for at least an hour a day helps boost estrogen level, which can help take the edge off the menopause. (Piedmont Healthcare, 2020)

The benefits of regular exercising include a way better quality of sleep, which is the most essential pillar for a human being to work more actively and efficiently throughout the day. It gives better endurance, reduces cholesterol levels, and improves the functioning of cardiovascular muscles. Furthermore, it helps in releasing stress and toxins from our body to a great extent, which in turn increases stamina, energy and effectively boosts the mood Most importantly, it is the most efficient way for weight reduction. The increased weight gives home to so many diseases in our body like diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers, and many more such problems, about which many people are still unaware of. Recent studies show that working out enhances the immune system’s ability to target and eradicate cancer cells. It helps fight cancer by changing the inner workings of certain immune cells in our body. So one should put deep emphasis on this point that if proper exercising can cure tough diseases like cancer, then what not can be cured and most importantly can refrain from so many health issues.

“Exercise is a journey which demands a great head-start as early as possible.”

Results do not appear overnight. A journey that should be enjoyable to oneself as it needs patience, time, and consistency. It’s not about hard work or a thing to show off, it’s about being true to oneself and looking towards it as a thing of immense value in one’s lifestyle, rather than a binge. Most importantly, it is something which can be followed by people of every age group and category. After digging such deep into this topic, numerous things have been unleashed and brought into the limelight of the readers from the darkness. Exercise is not a thing to be underestimated in human lives. Health benefits gained from consistent exercising needs to be emphasized more in this society and reinforced by every mental health professional to their patients. 

From an author’s perception, the main motive or aim behind writing on such a topic is to influence people. To make people more aware and add limelight to the benefits of exercising. To tempt people towards maintaining a fitter lifestyle and to say a “BIG NO” to medicines. If something can be cured and prevented at the same time by taking out some time from their schedules and pampering our bodies with some extra care, then why not. 

   

References:

1)M. J. Gawel, D. M.-Z. (n.d.). PMC. Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2425585/

2)Piedmont Healthcare. (2020). Retrieved from Piedmont.org: https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/how-exercise-helps-balance-hormones

About the Author

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Sakshi is a student at Amity University Kolkata, pursuing B.tech Biotechnology. A research enthusiast who loves to explore things and keeps keen interest in writing. Calligraphy, painting and sketching keeps her going daily. Aspires to achieve and explore more in the journey.