Worldwide studies and science support exercise for relieving symptoms related to ADD, OCD, anxiety, depression, addiction and aging
Exercise unleashes a cascade of neurochemicals and growth factors that physically bolster the brain’s infrastructure.
Most know the disabling realities of ADD, OCD, addiction, anxiety disorders and depression as well as the life altering conditions of diabetes and obesity. What many do not fully appreciate is the overwhelming scientific support for the positive affect that exercise can have on all of these conditions.
Exercise increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — important neurotransmitters that traffic in thoughts and emotions. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, and maybe you know that a lack of it is associated with depression.
What you may not know is that toxic levels of stress erode the connections between the billions of nerve cells in the brain, or that chronic depression shrinks certain areas of the brain.
Conversely, exercise unleashes a cascade of neurochemicals and growth factors that can reverse this process, physically bolstering the brain’s infrastructure. In fact, the brain responds like muscles do, growing with use, withering with inactivity. The neurons in the brain connect to one another through “leaves” on treelike branches, and exercise causes those branches to grow and bloom with new buds, thus enhancing brain function at a fundamental level.
Neuroscientists have just begun studying exercise’s impact within brain cells — at the genes themselves. Even there, in the roots of our biology, they’ve found signs of the body’s influence on the mind.
I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. Exercise balances neurotransmitters – along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain. Keeping your brain in balance can change your life.” Dr. John Ratey, author of SPARK and co-founder of Sparking Life