The Hidden Benefits
Many people train because cardio burns fat and weight training builds muscle but any regular trainer will tell you it’s the feel good benefits that have the greatest effect.
If your body is toned you feel better in yourself. But what’s more intriguing are the ‘feel good’ hormones that are released during and after training.
Released by the pituitary gland at the base of your brain, endorphins are the classic, feel good euphoric hormone, often called the ‘runners high’. These chemicals help block pain so you can power through discomfort to achieve major goals – it’s no co-incidence that people get addicted to going the extra mile.
Released by the butterfly shaped thyroid gland at the base of your neck, serotonin is less euphoric than endorphins but its role is critical in contributing to feelings of happiness and security, powerful enablers of restful sleep and a healthy appetite.
Released by the brain and often called the ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine’s major contribution to fitness is it helps you stick to diets. Eating and specifically eating quickly raises dopamine levels so the more you exercise the less you rely on eating for ‘highs’. Dopamine is also linked to orgasms but we’ll leave that for another time!
A naturally occurring substance, growth factors are hormone like compounds that work with satellite cells to help stimulate and regulate the muscle production. Growth factors like hepatocyte, fibroblast and insulin send signals to satellite cells to move to the damaged muscle area, repair the damage after exercise and prompt and regulate new muscle growth.