Psychological and Physiological Effects of Exercise on the Mind and the Body Term Paper

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Exercise has been described as the best medicine for depression. It can help a person get through rough times. Physical exercise is very important for a person's mental and physical health. Exercise helps in pumping more blood through the veins. This results in the increase in size of the arteries and it prevents fats from clogging the arteries. It also prevents blood clots. A person who exercises regularly is protected from a variety of diseases and it helps in curbing cholesterol. Exercise benefits a human body as it lowers blood pressure and conditions the lungs. Exercise has its various advantages. It successfully counters stress, depression and anxiety. It has been named as the best fighting force for all these problems. Exercise is also instrumental in improving a person's nervous, cardiovascular and immune system. It also increases our metabolism, digestion and stimulation. (University of Michigan Health System) (

Sometimes people feel angry and depressed over the state of their lives. It's highly recommended that one works out. Working out and exercising will reduce stress. It's important to make time for exercise as well as recreation. It requires a lot of motivation to go this far. If a person conquers stress, then depression and anxiety are also reduced as they all are interlinked together. It's important to reap the benefits of exercise.

Stress Reduction

Exercise is very important for stress reduction. People are often burdened with a lot of problems in their daily lives. This can cause a lot of problems to their most important organs in the body such as the heart and the lungs. The heart is one of the most important parts of the body. It is the organ which can withstand all the physical stress response. However all that stress isn't good for the body? Exercise can help the body as it helps a person loose weight as well as remain healthy. It improves the circulation of the body and provides for its maintenance. Due to this reason a person becomes more active and it helps in improving a person's response to stress related situations. Exercise is stated to be one of the best anti-stress medicine. Experts say that when a person exercises, he/she tends to improve his/her nutrition. With the help of good nutrition a person can take care of him/her self better and it reduces stress as the body receives all the vital components. Without a proper exercise routine, a person can't digest his food easily which can lead to a person having unsafe thoughts. Exercise calms the body down and it helps a person relax and handle situations in a proper manner. It makes a person's life easier as one does have any stress to handle. It allows contributes to a change in a person's mood cycle. If a person is motivated enough to exercise, then a lot of problems can be eliminated easily. It also helps if a person goes through an exercise routine with good spirits.

There is a constellation of mental health factors improved, whether its endorphins in the brain, or self-confidence, it's more important that the exercise happens," said Miriam Nelson, associate professor of nutrition and director of the Center for Physical Fitness. "The reduction of stress, sleep, energy, and everything else feed upon each other, making you look and feel better." (Marissa Beck, Relieving Stress Through Exercise, The Tufts Daily, 2003)


Recent evidence has shown that exercise is as effective as psychotherapy and anti-depressant drug therapy in treating mild to moderate depression, and even more effective when used in conjunction with the conventional therapies." (Richard Harvey, The Physician and Sports Medicine - September 1995)

People who are depressed have symptoms which are usually mild to severe. This could mean a person with a depressed mood, unable to receive pleasure, lost interest in activities, no motivation, insomnia, loss in appetite, and energy. (Harvard Health Publications Special Health Report, Depression Report, 2002)

Depression is the most common primary care psychiatric diagnosis, with a lifetime of prevalence of major depression being about five per cent of men and 10 per cent of women. These rates seem to be on the rise, which is alarming, as about 15 per cent of people suffering from severe major depressive disorders will die by suicide." (Harvey, 1995)

The British journal of sports medicine has published a study which concludes that exercise is the best way to treat moderate depression and is more effective than drugs. According to the study, a patient who exercised at least 30 minutes a day had a better mood by the end of the day. 'Physical activity has the same effect as antidepressants,' explains Dr. Fernando Dimeo. (Beat the Blues with exercise, (,9688,565736,00.html)

It is better than anti-depressants as its effect is instantaneous. Doctors feel that anti-depressants take a couple of weeks or more in order to take effect. Exercise is healthy and it helps a person recover right away. It is more effective than medicine as it does not slow down a person's abilities and instead speeds them up and makes them more active. (Beat the Blues with exercise,,9688,565736,00.html

Exercise can also get rid of severe depression. It causes the brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are substances which is opium like. They ease the pain as they give a person a sense of euphoria and comfort. These factors result in the nerve cells in the brain secrete other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which improve and increase the general feeling. If there are a shortage or deficiency f these hormones and enzymes, then a person is likely to be depressed, anxious, impulsive, and aggressive and develop an increased appetite. Research has found out that depressed people who exercise regularly are able to increase the level of natural anti-depressants which protects a person against depression. However it's recommended that a person shouldn't overdo exercise as it can cause a downturn in moods. The more a person exercises the more he/she becomes tired. This can result in a person being cranky. If a person exercises within his/her limits, there are no problems. (Marissa Beck, Relieving Stress Through Exercise, The Tufts Daily, 2003)


Anxiety is a problem faced by a lot of people. This is due to the fast paced and often tension filled lives of people. Exercise is important as it can help curb the levels of anxiety in a person. As a person gets busy with exercise, all the problems take a backseat as the person is busy exercising. It frees the mind and allows a person to concentrate on his/her exercise. This benefits the person as there are no worries. Studies have shown that women experience a great relief of stress and anxiety after going through vigorous exercise rather than a moderate one. This was found out after a number of women in the categories of 18 to 20 and 35 to 45 went through either no exercise or a grueling session of moderated or high intensity exercise. It was found that the level of anxiety had dropped in all women especially those who went through a high intensity exercise. It also showed that the older women were the beneficiaries of exercise. This proves that exercise is the key to a healthy life as it gets rid of tension and anxiety from a person's life. (Susan Aldridge, University of Missouri, Columbia, July 2003)

Immune System

The immune system is one of the most important parts of our body. It is set up so it can protect our body from all sorts of harmful substances. Harmful substances can be bacteria, viruses, chemicals etc. The immune system is also a very powerful surveillance system, as it can protect the body against cancer. Exercise plays a big role than nutrition. It is a very powerful force as it not only protects the immune system but it also has the capability to enhance it. Studies show that people who go through a regular and proper exercise program (which consists of plain brisk walking) can boost up the defense of their immune system. It also enhances the safety net of the antibodies and the t cells. Protecting the immune system does not require much exercise. It needs a low level of intensive exercise. There might be a link between the immune system and nervous system. (The Cleveland Clinic 2003)

Cardiovascular system

People usually have a lot of problems with their cardiovascular system. It is important that person exercise regularly as the cardiovascular is an important part of the body. It includes our heart, lungs, and blood vessels. These are vital for our body. The blood vessels are especially the most important as they are responsible for feeding the muscles (including arteries and veins). Whenever a person pushes him/her self to exercise, a various number of physiological processes take place. It also helps in increasing the heart beat at the same time. When the heart beat increases, it shows that some work is being performed. This means that the muscles need an increased…[continue]

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