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Maybe there’s a slight pang of guilt at the clickbaity title, but it got your attention and there are excellent reasons to read on. We’re talking about the links between exercise and feeling good in yourself, otherwise known as mental health. Here’s a course that delves into the exact mechanisms that link exercising to that inner glow.
Everybody has heard of the runner’s high, endorphins and the lovely warm fuzzy feeling they give you after a good workout. But what do we know of the effects on mood over the longer term? Joggers don’t always look very happy while they’re jogging, so apart from weight loss and fitness, what do they find in it? Does it lift their mood, and if so, how?
Exercise and Mental Health, a free series of modules on ALISON, gets to grips with this topic. It explores neurotransmitter and endorphin theories of the mental health benefits of exercise, but does not only look at biochemical and physiological explanations: it includes social factors stemming from exercise, such as the increased companionship that can be found in some sports. Also discussed is whether physical activity reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions by triggering positive brain changes.
The course includes an overview of the research methodologies used so far in attempts to explain the warm fuzzies we get from running, cycling, swimming and other physical activities. It then examines what can be concluded from such research and how research models can be improved to give more conclusive data.