mental health

Exercise replenishes the neurotransmitters vital to mental health


Neurotransmitters – such dopamine, glutamate, and serotonin - are released by neurons to communicate with other cells. They regulate our mental and physical health. Depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders occur when neurotransmitters are depleted. In one study, researchers used MRI scans to measure the impact that vigorous exercise had on certain depleted neurotransmitters. The results showed that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.1"

A quote from the study:

“Vigorous exercise is the most demanding activity the brain encounters, much more intense than calculus or chess, but nobody knows what happens with all that energy, Apparently, one of the things it's doing is making more neurotransmitters…Exercise could become an important part of treating depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders linked with deficiencies in neurotransmitters.”

While the researchers point out that vigorous exercise will not work for every depressed person, it will work for many.

To start and stick to a vigorous exercise program it helps to set the bar at a height you are willing to jump over each week. Commit to one 30-minute strength training session a week. Each week lift a little bit more weight, lift a little longer on each exercise, and take a little less time between exercises.   You will see improvement each week - a motivating factor to encourage you to stick with it. At our Austin Strength Training facility we track these weekly improvements.  

Over time, you will find that your energy levels rise and aches and pains subside. You’ll then be more likely to engage in other physical activities.  Months from now you can be a lot stronger, physically and mentally.  Being stronger, living pain-free, and having more energy is a step in the right direction – an upward, happier direction.