After sleep, exercise is the second most important thing that you can do to keep yourself mentally well. Exercise creates endorphins in the brain, those natural feel good drugs that provide you with a sense of euphoria. Long distance runners often speak of them and is the reason why some continue running through pain, the more pain the more endorphins the better the euphoric feeling.
Endorphins are the body’s natural opiate. They aren't addictive so don't panic. However, you may feel a little low if you do not get your usual 'fix' of endorphins each day that comes with your regular exercise routine.
You don’t have to run a marathon to get the health benefits of endorphins. Thirty minutes of moderate continuous activity is all it takes. Walking at a medium to fast pace is sufficient and the faster you run the greater the benefit. If walking or running isn't your thing then try vacuuming the house for 30 minutes continuously and see how that feels. Or mow the lawns, trim the hedge and wash the car without stopping.
It takes 30 minutes to get blood from your big toe circulating up to your brain and back again after travelling through your plumbing, the pipes and filters known as the kidney, liver and other necessary organs that take the rubbish out of your body.
Exercise is also how we remove excess adrenaline. Adrenaline is pumped into the body whenever we become stressed, when we feel the need to fight or to flee. Excess adrenaline causes unnecessary anxiety and if left unchecked can cause serious physiological and psychological harm.
A lesser known reaction to the excess release of adrenalin is diarrhoea. If we face a frightening situation, large amounts of adrenalin get released into the body with some of the chemical leaving the body out the rear exit. So, the next time you think you may have eaten a bad meal, think back as it may just be that you had a fright a few days earlier!
Back to exercise, the reason we are told to get more exercise than the suggested 30 minutes is simply to reduce weight. It's all about energy in and energy out. If you eat more or eat the wrong foods, you need to exercise more. And the better the food that you eat the greater the benefit and the healthier you will feel.
So, grab that vacuum cleaner and start working out.