General, Research, Technology

Why does sports help relieve stress?

People who exercise regularly orat least do physical exercise, less likely to suffer from stress and depression. This has been proven in the course of many scientific studies, and you yourself may have noticed it in life. After all, surely many have friends who adhere to an active lifestyle - most likely, you very rarely see them worried? Scientists have long known that reducing stress during physical activity is associated with chemical processes that take place inside living organisms. It is clear that physical exertion produces substances that reduce the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol, but what they are called, scientists have not yet been clear. However, as part of a scientific study, scientists from the US state of Georgia were still able to identify a substance that saves us from stress.

Sport really helps relieve stress, but why?

The benefits of sports against stress

The results of the scientific work were published inJNeurosci magazine. In the course of numerous studies, researchers have noticed that during physical activity in living organisms, a substance called galanin is produced. It belongs to neuropeptides - a type of protein molecule that is produced in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Scientists have suggested that it is he who strongly affects a person's mood and helps fight anxiety and other manifestations of stress. His role in this case has not been proven, but the Americans have found a way to fill this gap.

central nervous system associated with the brain and spinal cord, and peripheral nervous the system is outside of them.

As with many similar scientific papers, scientistsconducted an experiment on laboratory mice. They were divided into two groups - the rodents from the first were placed in cages with a running wheel. That is, they had the opportunity to exercise. The second group of mice ended up in an empty cage. The animals were regularly exposed to short-term stress for three weeks. Their condition was assessed immediately after the stress and 24 hours after the shocking event. How exactly the stressful conditions were recreated, scientists do not tell. But to scare the rodents, it was enough just to shake the cage.

Physical activity is important for everyone, even animals

The experiment showed that physically activethe rodents were calmer than mice from an empty cage. In the brain of individuals from the first group, the largest amount of the neuropeptide galanin was indeed found. Most interestingly, the highest concentration was found in the so-called blue spot - the area of ​​the brain that is responsible for the body's response to stress. By the third week of the experiment, it turned out that regular physical activity followed by the production of galanin makes the mice resistant to stress. That is, over time, athlete mice began to relate to sources of stress with great calmness.

Read also: Why are tears salty and help to cope with stress?

How to get rid of stress?

Galanin's role in stress reduction can now beconsidered proven. But this was confirmed only by the example of rodents, and whether the human body works in the same way is still not known for sure. It should also be borne in mind that organisms produce other substances during physical activity. Scientists will be able to learn about them in the course of further research. It can be assumed in advance that they all somehow reduce the stress level of cortisol. After all, it is precisely its high content that leads us into an alarming state, from which it can be very difficult to get out.

Increased cortisol concentration is the main cause of stress

Finally, I would like to highlight four positive effects of physical activity:

  • exercise reduces anxiety and this effect can come very quickly and last a whole day;
  • sport helps to relax - after physical activity, the body gets rid of tension for 90-120 minutes. Some people call this "post-workout euphoria";
  • playing sports increases self-esteem, because after jogging or going to the gym, many people feel great;
  • sport improves appetite and helps to switch to a healthy diet.

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It should be noted that to get rid of stress, do notbe sure to go to the gym. To do this, it is enough to regularly walk in the fresh air, sometimes switching to light jogging. Also, stress is perfectly relieved with yoga, which alternately involves many muscle groups. Well, do not forget about outdoor activities - from time to time you can get together with friends and play football.