The ‘brain’, an exceptional piece of creation within the human body was always given utmost importance and even today, it holds the same position in the spheres of medicine and spirituality. This is because the brain is responsible for literally sending positive and negative signals throughout the body; whether it is a response to consuming life-threatening narcotics or a reaction to the entry of harmful microorganisms to threaten our immune-system, the brain is ever-ready to take input and give out the necessary feedback to take corrective measures whenever required. It plays a big role in maintaining “homeostasis” or a state of stability within the body as compared to that on the outside.
Exercise, as we all know, has numerous physical and psychological benefits; it affects us so positively that many of us have now made it a part of our lifestyles. We even make extra time from our hectic schedules to engage in at least moderate exercise. Have you ever wondered as to why we get drawn to exercising even when we are battling with time? Ever wondered as to why we enjoy it so much? The reason is very clear; it makes us HAPPY and happiness is hugely connected to brain signalling. And everyone has a different reason to become happy through exercising; for some, it may be to socialize and to meet new people at the gym while for others it may be purely to be physically active.
While the brain is too complex of a mechanism to be understood just through a single article, we can briefly learn how it reacts to exercise:
The mind-body coordination: Did you know that it takes around 8-12 weeks for a newbie to correctly learn an exercise technique? After a certain number of weeks and hundreds of repetitions, they experience improved ability to lift their own body-weight during exercise or even an ability to lift a more external load. This is not solely because they’ve gotten more muscular but because they have experienced neural learning, and now the brain sends signals to enough motor neurons to activate enough muscle fibers to perform the particular movement. All in all, exercise is also a process of learning which translates consistency and patience into your “real-world” life.
The Happy Hormones: Exercise is a form of a drug, but a useful one. You may have heard from regular exercisers around you that they are “addicted” to exercising. I too am one of these people and there’s a very straightforward reason for this phenomenon. Endorphins or the happy hormones are responsible for this addiction to exercising. These hormones are nothing but forms of proteins, released by the pituitary gland in the brain as a result of experiencing physiological stress. One of the biggest advantages of endorphins is that they help with reducing the consciousness of physical and emotional pain! This is why clinically depressed patients are now being advised to follow a consistent exercise program along with medication.