The feeling of stress and depression is familiar to everyone. But only a few people know that one of the most effective ways to deal with stress is regular physical activity, in other words, fitness classes.
Psychological relaxation occurs both during and after training.
Regular physical education classes (gym, swimming, aerobics) have a positive effect on the state of the nervous system. Even on the days between workouts, you will feel great. In addition, it is proven that fitness classes increase the level of self-esteem, which is the most important point in the fight against stress.
It is important to note that the level of physical activity required to relieve stress differs for different people. Someone needs a short-term evening jog in the forest, someone needs to “pull iron” in the gym, and someone gets relaxation after beating a punching bag with his hands and feet (by the way, one of the most effective ways!!!). In any case, it has long been proven that regular physical activity warns and helps to relieve stress.
Many people who train can experience a feeling of euphoria during or after training. Scientists conducted research and came to the conclusion that intense physical exercise can really lead to a feeling of euphoria, similar to the sensations when taking drugs, for example, heroin.
When the biochemical processes occurring in the brain were studied in detail, several interesting hypotheses were put forward. The most popular one is that there are chemicals called opioids in the central nervous system. In their structure and properties, they are similar to narcotic substances such as opium, morphine and heroin. Beta-endorphin belongs to this group. Opioids not only dull the feeling of pain, but also participate in the processes of memory (memorization), are responsible for the feelings and emotions of a person. It was difficult to calculate the exact concentration of opioids in the human nervous system. But numerous animal experiments have confirmed that with increasing intensity and duration of physical activity, the concentration of opioids increased.
Why does the production of opioids increase? Some believe that this is due to the fact that when performing physical exercises, the body experiences pain. Opioids help the body to increase the pain threshold, slow down the heartbeat, reduce blood pressure, speed up the recovery process (rest).
Some studies confirm that changing the concentration of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters can affect the improvement of mood during exercise. In particular, changes in the concentration of norepinephrine and serotonin were observed in animal experiments. Elevated levels of these substances were also noted in people with stress symptoms. The antidepressant effect of physical exercise is associated with a decrease in norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.
Muscle tension increases during stress and can cause many musculoskeletal problems, such as, for example, a feeling of fatigue, both physical and psychological. On the other hand, physical exercise leads to muscle relaxation. After an intense workout, the muscles relax. One study on measuring electrical activity in muscles confirmed that walking, jogging or cycling reduces muscle tension by 50% 90 minutes after training. Physical relaxation, as a rule, always entails psychological relaxation.
Rhythmic exercises, such as, for example, walking, running, rowing or swimming, increase alpha-wave activity in the brain. The electrical activity of the brain can be viewed on an electroencephalogram. Alpha waves are associated with a calm emotional state of a person, for example, as during meditation. Rhythmic breathing during certain exercises also contributes to an increase in the activity of alpha waves.
Some studies confirm that regular physical exercise of moderate intensity contributes to the appearance of a kind of immunity to stress. It is proved that physically active people are more resistant to nervous breakdowns than people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Thus, constant physical exercises (fitness) train not only the human body, but also lift the mood, instill confidence, harden the nervous system.