Hope Molecules Cultivate Happiness

Through exercise, myokines improve mind and mood.


Wellness, Health

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Take your mood for a workout! Exciting research reveals that exercise does contribute to happiness. Be it a few pushups or laps in the pool, chances are the muscles and mind will go home feeling good. 

This is thanks to myokines, a rising star in the cellular show. During physical exercise, contracted muscles release chemicals into the bloodstream, according to The Guardian, including myokines. When myokines travel across the blood-brain barrier, they are shown to improve mood, longevity, plus the ability to learn.

Treats depression
This study from Potsdam, Germany, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests that due to myokines, exercise should seriously be considered as a treatment against depression. While standard medicinal treatment may lead to relapses or side effects, exercise works quickly and is readily available.

This is important news for all, young and old alike. Children and teens tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle these days and this may lead to a lower sense of well-being.  An American study shows that after an hour of sitting in front of a screen, children show a loss of self-control and less mood stability.

Protects against aging
As for older adults, myokines protect against aging, according to this study in Life. With circulating myokines improving cognitive functions and learning, researchers conclude that muscle can influence brain health.

It is well known that exercise is connected to endorphins, those feel good neurochemicals. Serotonin and norphenylephrine are other happiness neurotransmitters produced during a workout, according to well+good. However, the myokines are there to help with the neuron connections so that these positive feelings are felt.

Hope molecules
Given that myokines help to fight depression, they are called “hope molecules.”  Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal explained to well+good that they offer more than a simple endorphin rush; myokines increase motivation and improve resilience to stress.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine study is taking myokines seriously. Their comprehensive findings show that exercise should be a treatment for those with depression and for people who cannot take medication. 

Instead of prescribing medicine, some doctors suggest heading outside for a walk. This type of medical advice is being called a “social prescription,” according to The Guardian, a treatment that combines community engagement with exercise. Best of all, exercise can be individualized, is free to all, and is always there when needed. 

Stimulate some myokines by giving those muscles more attention each day. Make time to walk away from the sedentary ways of desk, chair, and screen in favor of a good work out. Exercising engages those magical hope molecules and may improve mind, mood, and body for a lifetime.

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