The Biochemistry of Exercise

Lanu Pitan

Lanu Pitan

Most of us often wonder why we are able to easily remove lethargy after an exercise, why we feel more awake or present as if we are geared up. This is because of exercise influences the ebb and flow of the body’s own psychoactive chemicals in ways that can lift anyone’s mood.

The fact is that there is a mental benefit derived by those of us who always keep active.


Cycling Exercise
Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Exercise – A Natural Psychotherapy

In a study of Psychosomatic Medicine study, it was discovered that those took part in swimming class over a fourteen-week period in a semester reported less tension, depression, and confusion than those who did not take part in this exercise. And the more depressed a person is, the greater the benefit to be derived from exercise

Researchers have not yet been able to pinpoint the cause, but they know these are biochemical reactions of lactate, glucose, androgens, testosterone, hormone, salt and the chemical transmitters in the body. Charles P. Ransford in his study of the anti-depressant power of exercise concluded that. Exercise helps by bringing the activity of neurotransmitters closer to normal. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that sends a signal between nerve cells.

He points out that the standard treatment for depression, electroconvulsive therapy, anti-depressant drugs, and deprivation of rapid eye movement sleep – also have happened to have this effect.

Researchers indicated that three transmitters may be involved in producing an anti-depressant effect, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine raises the heartbeat and may increase cerebral blood flow and metabolism.

Which Exercise Brings Bigger Benefits?

The more strenuous activities – those that make demands on the cardiovascular system and have aerobic benefits will deliver better results than say bowling or golf. Aerobic exercises are running, walking, swimming, cross-country skiing, aerobic dance, jumping rope, and bicycling.


How Exercise Benefits The Body

Blood Supply

  • Exercise is very effective in the cardiovascular system by helping the heart to pump blood perfectly to circulate the body. The cells of the body rely on nutrients and oxygen be carried to them via the blood. Also, the blood carries away carbon dioxide and other waste products of the brain’s busy, round the clock metabolism.
  • There is a progressive mental impairment when there’s no adequate blood flow from the heart, veins and arteries to the brain. The researchers at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London, J M. Gibbs and Richard S. J. Frackowiak have established that the blood flow to the brain declines an average of about 23 per cent between the ages of thirty-three and sixty-one.
  • Less blood means less oxygen and glucose are made available to the brain, so it has less energy to burn.¬†Exercise produces beneficial changes in the circulatory system and mental activity and performance.


How is it that regular aerobic exercise can deliver more blood to the brain?

  • First, a fit person’s heart is more efficient, pumping a greater amount of blood with each beat. Secondly, exercise raises levels of high-density lipoproteins in the blood and these are thought to clear cholesterol from blood vessels.¬†Finally, exercise may reduce blood levels of certain fats that are harmful to the arteries.

Air Supply

  • It is obvious that if a brain is short on blood, it will be short on oxygen as well. Older people are at greater risk because their lungs and hearts become less efficient over the years.¬† Exercise speeds up the nerve impulses between brain cells.
  • Oxygen makes a huge difference, as the brain needs oxygen to oxidize glucose in the production of electrical energy – that sparks of our thoughts and feelings. We know that certain neurotransmitters are highly dependent on oxygen for their production.
  • Although the brain is only two per cent of the body’s weight, its demand for oxygen is enormous, twenty per cent of the body’s share, ranging up to fifty per cent for fast-growing children.
  • Shallow breaths and clogged arteries may leave the brain gasping for air, in effect. Symptoms range from confusion and a lack of mental vitality to senility.


Running As An Exercise
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Exercise Can Reverse Or Arrest The Degeneration Of Aging in Geriatric Patients

  • The ability of the body to absorb oxygen is so vital to life that it serves as an overall index of physical health. A measurement known as VO2 max describes how well a person can take oxygen from inhaled air and transport it throughout the body via the bloodstream.
  • VO2 max typically peaks during adolescents, then slowly but steadily wanes over the years. If you stay at the same level of activity, (or inactivity), you can expect your VO2 max to decline at a rate of one per cent per year. Imagine if the body has no ability to regenerate itself, the decline of the VO2 max would have been disastrous for us.
  • However, it is possible to turn back the VO2 max calendar fifteen to forty years by regular exercise for virtually everyone, but more for older people. It was discovered that older people who experience cardiovascular blockage. the brain tends to compensate by absorbing more of the oxygen that does reach it, so that oxygen consumption may remain nearly as normal.
  • Older people are especially apt to improve because exercise spurs the type of intelligence that’s most apt to slip over the years – fluid intelligence, which is the sum of what has been learned throughout life, such as vocabulary.

But the body and mind aren’t only recharged by being active. They’re also refreshed and strengthened by being positive.


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