Friday, March 7, 2008

Boost your immune system and zap depression with exercise!

Of course we all know about the cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise. Not much is said about anything else. If the cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise are not enough to motivate us, we need to see what else exercise can do for our health.

Exercise performed every other day for at least 30 minutes strengthens the immune system. The reason for this is due to increased endorphin production, the natural pain killers produced by the human body. Endorphins give you that "glow" and feeling of relaxation and in joggers, the "runner's high", where they feel they can keep on running and running without feeling much in the way of exhaustion or pain.

Well, recent research has shown that the immune system's cells contain endorphin receptors. When these receptors are stimulated with endorphins, the immune system becomes much more robust. Increases in the number of T-cells (CD4) have been observed along with a much more healthy immune response, thus increasing your resistance to various illnesses, including reduction of the risk of cancer.

Endorphins are also good depression busters. Regular exercise helps promote positive changes in brain chemistry and at least one study has shown exercise to be at least as effective as antidepressant drugs in the treatment of depression. Exercise is also beneficial in the treatment outcomes of those suffering from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

In the very least, exercise makes us feel better about ourselves, increases our confidence and gives us more energy to enjoy the special things in life such as playing with our children and grandchildren.

As always, please be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

A longer and better quality of life are just around the corner.

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