Want to Feel Better? Make More Neurotransmitters

by ParentCo. March 02, 2016

If we want to be happy, we're gonna have to exercise. GROAN. Can't we just eat Doritos and watch movies? Nope. Physical exercise helps our brains work optimally, combatting depression and anxiety. According to Richard Maddock, professor in the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and author of a new study, "...vigorous exercise is the most demanding activity the brain encounters, much more intense than calculus or chess but nobody knows what happens with all that energy. Apparently, one of the things it’s doing is making more neurotransmitters." Specifically, exercise increases the production of two common neurotransmitters responsible for chemical messaging within the brain -- glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Researchers measured glutamate and GABA levels in 38 healthy participants before and immediately following a period of sustained vigorous exercise on a stationary bike, reporting that: Significant increases were found in the visual cortex, which processes visual information, and the anterior cingulate cortex, which helps regulate heart rate, some cognitive functions and emotion. The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, "offers new insights into brain metabolism and why exercise could become an important part of treating depression..." (UC Davis Newsroom). This confirms what many of us already know from experience -- when we exercise, we feel better. And when we feel better, everything feels better -- from our personal health to our relationships with kids and spouses.
Source:
HTTP://WWW.UCDMC.UCDAVIS.EDU/PUBLISH/NEWS/NEWSROOM/10798
HTTP://WWW.JNEUROSCI.ORG/CONTENT/36/8/2449
FAST COEXIST



ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

women doing workout
5 Ways Working Out Makes Me a More Fit Parent

by Cheryl Maguire

Exercise helps me be a better mom. I often apply the wisdom of the phrases I hear when I'm working out to the many parenting challenges I encounter.

Continue Reading

woman sitting looing sad
My Only New Year’s Resolution Is to Be Kinder to Myself

by ParentCo.

I now know there are steps I can take to change how I think, to find the true me again. That is why I am going to take better care of myself this year. In fact, that’s the only resolution I care to make. For both my own health, and as an important example to my kids, this year, I'm resolving to practice a kindness that starts from within.

Continue Reading

mom in bed with sick child
How to Keep Kids Healthy This Cold & Flu Season

by Dr. Jeff Andrews

As we head into the upcoming cold and flu season, parents should be mindful of the following best practices to keep their families safe and healthy.

Continue Reading