Enthusiasts of intense physical activities such as jogging are well aware that after 15 to 30 minutes of sustained effort, the mind experiences a slightly euphoric state where thoughts are spontaneously positive and even creative. The phenomenon can be attributed to hormones called “endorphins”, which are released into the bloodstream during the activity. In a chapter where he explains the effect of endorphins, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber states that this phenomenon does not diminish with age. “The more the body is stimulated this way,” he says, “the more responsive it appears to become. Also, people who exercise regularly derive more pleasure from the little things in life, such as their friends, their cat, food, reading or the smile of a passer-by in the street.”
Research has shown that physical exercise can also be as effective as medication, if not more effective, for treating depression. The amount of activity is important, including the intensity, duration and frequency, to the extent that too much is no better than not enough. The consensus among researchers appears to be that 20 minutes of medium-intensity exercise three times a week is sufficient to obtain an effect on the part of the brain that regulates mood.
Physical activity not only helps boost energy levels, but also your ability to respond to daily stresses. By releasing tension from the body, exercise helps you relax, as well as fight off illnesses caused by stress, such as the common cold.
Did you know ?
According to a study conducted by Statistics Canada in the early 1990’s, nearly 50% of Canadians have a moderately stressful life, and 12% have a highly stressful life.
Tip of the week :
Making a list of your concerns and priorities helps reduce daily stress. What’s more, if you follow a program of moderate physical activity three times a week, for at least 20 minutes each time, you can considerably reduce your stress, along with its negative effects on your health.
- Passeport Santé, Statistics Canada’s “Health Promotion Survey (HPS)”