Why sport can make us happy

Why sport can make us happy

If you don’t do sports, you can hardly understand it. Why do millions of people still get up after an exhausting day to do fitness or run a lap? Even if couch potatoes find it hard to believe, the answer is: Because sport can make us happy. And research now knows why.

How happy we are depends on the brain

Let’s start with a myth. For decades endorphins have been held responsible for the feeling of well-being after sport. But there is still no scientific proof of this today. Today we know that they have a completely different task. They are supposed to relieve pain and make extreme stress more bearable. Moreover, endorphins are not able to penetrate into the brain. But being happy only works if something happens in our body’s own computer.

The role of the neurons

The biochemistry of the brain plays a unique role. Our body’s own computer is made up of 100 billion neurons. These can transmit chemical signals. These chemical signals are responsible for how we feel, how we think, and how we behave among the most essential suspects for our well-being after sport is so-called endocannabinoids. The body releases them more often during sporting activity. And similar to some drugs, they can put us into an intoxicating state.

Happy through the feel-good hormone serotonin

The messenger substances serotonin, dopamine, adrenalin, and noradrenalin are much better known. Sufficiently intensive fitness programs increase their release. In some runners, they can trigger an intoxication-like state. Serotonin is known worldwide as the happiness hormone. Therefore, sport is also considered a successful therapy for depression.

Sport can make us happy, even strength training
Strength training makes the happiness hormones flow (©adpic)

Strength training can also make us happy

But not only endurance sports make us happy. It has been shown that all forms of strength training also stabilize mental health and make us happy. The first clinics are letting their depressed patients lift weights and do resistance exercises.

The happy making protein

The findings on a protein with the abbreviation BDNF are still relatively new. BDNF stands for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. The primary function of BDNF is to promote the survival and growth of neurons. Besides, they should ensure the correct transmission of chemical messages between brain cells. Sport can significantly increase the production of BDNF. So if you ever have problems with your inner bastard, remember: If I do sports now, I will feel much better afterward.

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