Wonderful things that happen while you train
Wonderful things that happen while you train
The hormones that are released in your body during exercise
Serotonin increase/ improving sleep and mood:
Serotonin is a neurohormone (hormone and neurotransmitter) that increases the feeling of satisfaction, and since it is also involved in the production of melatonin ("the sleep hormone"), it also helps regulate sleep and appetite. High levels of it have been found in studies to be associated with reducing depression and anxiety and improving mood, and many antidepressants are based on a mechanism that increases serotonin levels.
Exercise is considered one of the most researched ways to increase serotonin naturally. Many studies have shown that the activation of the muscles during physical activity allows increased utilization of tryptophan, an amino acid that is a starting material for the production of serotonin in the brain.
Good to know: In many studies it has been found that regular moderate-intensity training that activates large muscle groups, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, lifting weights and HIIT, is most effective for increasing serotonin levels. To achieve this, it is advisable to train 3-5 times a week, a minimum of 150 minutes in total.
Dopamine/ increases the feeling of happiness and reduces the desire to eat
Dopamine also functions as a neurohormone. It is produced by the hypothalamus, located above the pituitary gland, and is responsible for regulating movement, attention, learning, emotions, hunger and satiety.
Studies show that regular physical training increases dopamine stores in the brain and increases the production of dopamine receptors in the brain. When dopamine is secreted more, it increases the feeling of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction, and also increases motivation and helps with movement.
Dopamine also plays a role in curbing appetite and maintaining weight. For example, in a study published in 2008 in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, it was found that low levels of dopamine weaken the dopamine receptors, which leads to a loss of control over calorie consumption. The lower the dopamine levels, the greater the desire for food.
Regular physical activity that includes between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week will increase the levels of dopamine in your blood.
Endorphins/ mask pain and reduce anxiety
Endorphins, also known as the "natural happiness drug", are also neurohormones. They are produced in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and have an important role in masking pain, reducing depression and anxiety, and elevating mood.
During strenuous physical activity, the brain increases the production of endorphins. Since endorphins have a chemical structure similar to morphine, a large presence of endorphins in the blood contributes to a decrease in the feeling of pain and to an increase in the ability to persist in the activity despite the pain that occurs during training.
To increase the secretion of endorphins, you will need to perform aerobic activity at a high heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day, or training with wooden weights, with short rests, three times a week. Also, in order to maintain a high concentration of endorphins in the blood for a longer time, it is important that this activity be regular.
Growth hormone increases muscle mass and reduces the fat percentage:
Growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland. Its main role is in accelerating protein production, which contributes to the development and increase of muscle mass, and it also affects the strength of bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage tissue.
Also, during physical activity, growth hormone reduces the use of glucose and utilizes fat as an energy source, which contributes to reducing body fat percentages and weight loss.
Studies have found that intense physical activity, and in particular strength training for the leg muscles, increases the secretion of growth hormones in the blood. And in general, the larger the active muscle groups, the higher the intensity of the training and the longer the activity, the higher the release of this hormone.
Testosterone/ increases energy and sexual desire
Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced mainly by the testicles, and in women - to a small extent in the ovaries. Its functions are many, among other things it is responsible for the appearance of the secondary sex signs, such as hair on the body, beards and moustaches, and also increases energy and sexual desire. Testosterone deficiency has been found in studies to be associated with depression, chronic fatigue, weight gain and more
The relationship between physical activity and an increase in testosterone levels has been examined in several studies. It was found that high-intensity strength training will contribute to an increase in the production of the hormone and to maintaining its high level - an important effect for maintaining muscle mass. In addition, since testosterone is an anabolic (building) hormone, it helps in the development of muscle mass, provided that its level in the blood is high.
A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Biochemistry and Physiology showed that cardiopulmonary endurance training (such as running, cycling, swimming) may slightly reduce testosterone the longer it lasts. The explanation for this is still unknown, but recent studies actually indicate an increase in testosterone levels following HIIT training and weight lifting, especially when training large muscle groups, with high volume and intensity.
The increase in the concentration of testosterone begins after about 20 minutes of training and remains high for 1-3 hours after it ends. Therefore, to reap the benefits, it is advisable to exercise for at least 20 minutes. Also, in anaerobic activity (strength training) it is advisable to rest for 30 seconds to a minute between sets.
Estrogen/ contributes to skeletal health and skin firmness
Estrogen is a hormone secreted mainly in women, in the ovaries, and it helps in regulating the reproductive cycle and sexual desire and in maintaining the health of the skeleton and the firmness of the skin.
High levels of estrogen in the blood have been found to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and physical activity has been shown to help balance its levels in the body. According to the Cancer Society, in the follow-up of more than 100 thousand cases of breast cancer, it was found that performing physical activity regularly provides about 30% protection against the risk of getting sick.
If you are bothered by the estrogen levels in your skin, then it is recommended that you should go exercise in the morning. In a study published in 2020 in the International Journal of Cancer, the researchers showed that physical activity done in the early morning contributes more to reducing estrogen levels in the blood compared to activity performed at other times of the day.
Insulin/ Regulates blood sugar levels
Insulin is a hormone secreted by beta cells in the pancreas. After eating, the blood sugar level rises, and insulin kicks in: it moves the excess glucose (sugar) from the blood vessels into the body's cells, where it is absorbed and broken down into energy, thus lowering the sugar level to normal.
The higher the accumulation of fat in the tissues, for example as a result of weight gain or due to increased consumption of a high-sugar diet, the more the effectiveness of insulin is impaired (a condition known as "the body's resistance to insulin") and the blood sugar level remains high, and hence the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases. in cardiovascular diseases.
It has been found in many studies that regular physical activity improves the absorption of sugar and its use for energy purposes and reduces insulin resistance (and hence the drop in blood sugar), and even helps sugar enter the cells independent of insulin. This condition is excellent for diabetics, but also has a great advantage for healthy people in preventing obesity and the diseases associated with it.
Regular and daily physical activity, even if it is divided into short periods, will contribute significantly to improving blood sugar levels and preventing morbidity. A study published in Diabetes Care in 2013 found that three short walks of about 15 minutes each day after meals were as effective in reducing blood sugar levels and maintaining them for 24 hours as a single 45-minute walk at a moderate pace. Also, resistance training, at least 2-3 times a week, may help regulate the sugar in the body, since they contribute to increasing muscle mass, thus increasing the volume for storing and absorbing sugar in the muscle cells.
Glucagon/ causes the breakdown of fat and its utilization as a source of energy
Glucagon (also known as the "hunger hormone") is produced and secreted by the pancreas. It encourages the release of glucose into the bloodstream and actually works opposite to the action of insulin. When blood sugar concentrations are too low, its excretion increases. It acts on the sugar stores in the liver and contributes to the increase in the concentration of sugar in the blood, and in addition causes the breakdown of fat and its utilization as a source of energy.
During physical activity or after we have refrained from eating for some time, blood sugar levels drop, and glucagon, in cooperation with insulin, comes into action - it encourages the liver, and the muscle to release glucose stored in it, to transfer it to the bloodstream to provide the body with energy. The balance between glucagon and insulin is the key to maintaining the stability of blood sugar levels and avoiding increases that may lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Glucagon will usually be secreted after about 30 minutes of physical activity, while the concentration of sugar in the blood begins to decrease.