Archive for the ‘Health’ Tag
People who are physically attractive are not just good looking but brainy too. The children of beautiful couples are inclined to become heir to both qualities, building a genetic link over successive generations between Brain and beauty. Physical attractiveness is associated with common intelligence. The association between attractiveness and intelligence is strong in men. Woman who are…
President Franklin Roosevelt famously asserted, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I think he was right, actually. Fear of fear probably causes more problems in life than fear. That claim needs a bit of explaining. Fear has a bad reputation among most human beings. Fear is not nearly as complicated as we try to make it. A simple and useful definition of fear can be an anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation of some imagined event or experience.
Medical experts tell that the anxious feeling we get when we are afraid is a standardized biological reaction. It is pretty much the same set of body signals, whether we are afraid of getting bitten by a dog, getting turned down for a date, or getting our taxes audited. Fear, like all other emotions, is basically information. It offers us knowledge and understanding if we choose to accept it of our psychobiological status.
There are only five basic fears, out of which almost all of our other so-called fears are manufactured. Those five basic fears are extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death.
Think about the various common labels we put on our fears. Start with the easy ones: fear of heights or falling is basically fear of extinction, possibly accompanied by significant mutilation, but that is sort of secondary. Fear of failure? Read it as fear of ego-death. Fear of rejection? It is fear of separation, and probably also fear of ego-death. The terror many people have at the idea of having to speak in public is basically fear of ego-death. Fear of intimacy or fear of commitment is basically fear of losing one’s autonomy.
Some other emotions we know by various popular names are also expressions of these primary fears. If you track them down to their most basic levels, the basic fears show through. Jealousy, for example, is an expression of the fear of separation, or devaluation. At the extreme, it can express the fear of ego-death. Envy works the same way. Shame and guilt express the fear or the actual condition of separation and even ego-death. The same is true for embarrassment and humiliation.
Fear is often the base emotion on which anger floats. Oppressed peoples rage against their oppressors because they fear or actually experience loss of autonomy and even ego-death. The destruction of a culture or a religion by an invading occupier may be experienced as a kind of collective ego-death. Those who make us fearful will also make us angry.
Religious bigotry and intolerance may express the fear of ego-death on a cosmic level, and can even extend to existential anxiety. Some of our fears, of course, have basic survival value. Others, however, are learned reflexes that can be weakened or re-learned.
That strange idea of "fearing our fears" can become less strange when we realize that many of our avoidance reactions like turning down an invitation to a party if we tend to be uncomfortable in groups; putting off the doctor’s appointment; or not asking for the raise are instant reflexes that are reactions to the memories of fear. They happen so quickly that we don’t actually experience the full effect of the fear. We experience a micro-fear; a reaction that is a kind of shorthand code for the real fear. This reflex reaction has the same effect of causing us to evade and avoid as the real fear. This is why it is fairly accurate to say that many of our so-called fear reactions are actually the fears of fears.
When we let go of our notion of fear as the welling up of evil forces within us – the Freudian motif – and begin to see fear and its companion emotions as basically information, we can think about them consciously. More clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears frighten us and control us.
Endorphins are hormones that are released by the pituitary gland that have motivational benefits. Many long-distance runners experience frequent rushes of endorphin release.
Most people who run want to become fit and maintain a healthy weight. A combination of diet and exercise has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight. Running is a cardiovascular exercise that allows you to burn an average of 100 calories per mile. The number of calories burned varies depending on how fast and long you run.
Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, strengthen the heart. In fact, a person who does not run daily has a heart that beats approximately 36,000 times more than the average runner. The reason is because running keeps the arteries open and blood flowing more easily. They expand and contract more often, increasing their elasticity. The result is lower blood pressure and the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood. Running is also beneficial for the lungs. The exercise makes runners take deeper breaths, which increases lung capacity over time.
Running also has psychological benefits. The endorphins that are released during running help to treat depression and other psychological disorders. Running helps people feel less fatigued, depressed, and tense throughout the day.
Many things can trigger the release of endorphins. Though many triggers are known to exist, the primary triggers are stress and pain. The hypothalamus is the command-and-control center of endocrine system. It decides when you need to eat, when you should begin puberty and when you need a big dose of endorphins, among many other functions. It keeps tabs on every part of your central nervous system, and hormones are released to other parts of the body when the hypothalamus wants to make an adjustment.
Many cardiovascular exercises, like running, swimming, and cycling, stimulate the release of endorphins; hormones that block pain and enable you to experience euphoric feelings. Endorphins are closely linked to addictions and were discovered by scientists who carried out research on drug addictions. The findings showed that the brain contains its own chemicals that are more potent than most drugs, such as opium and morphine. Endorphins are released during strenuous exercises. The chemicals make runners feel energized both during and after the exercise. This feeling is often referred to as a “runner’s high” and helps to motivate runners. The amount of endorphins released depends on the physical fitness of a runner. Daily runners will maximize the potential benefits of endorphins.
Running elevates the levels of endorphins more than other cardiovascular exercises, like swimming and cycling. Additionally, the Department of Health and Sport Science at the University of Richmond attempted to determine if weight lifting heightened the level of endorphins in the body. The experiment concluded that the levels remained unchanged both during and after weight-lifting exercises. Other sport activities that require great cardio fitness levels, such as long-distance rowing, football, basketball, and soccer, produce high levels of endorphins.
When hypothalamus of the brain calls for endorphins, it initiates a chain of messages by chemically prompting the pituitary gland to release its own chemicals that then make their way to glands throughout your body and on down the line until endorphin-containing neurons release them. These endorphins then find their way to the brain’s opioid receptors.
Endorphin is produced throughout body and is requested by the hypothalamus, but besides stress and pain triggers, endorphins are also released by exercises like heavy weightlifting or intense aerobic activity that includes periods of sprinting or increased exertion. Exercises are not the only activities that trigger the production of endorphins. Clinical researchers reported that acupuncture also effectively raises endorphin levels. Acupuncture needles that were inserted into specific body points helped to release endorphins in spinal fluid. The patients experienced relaxation and the pain-blocking effects of the chemical.
The most difficult part of exercising is getting into a routine. Remember that the effect of endorphins increases with routine and better physical fitness. Once you start running every day, the quality of your health and life can dramatically increase. Meditation or controlled-breathing exercises like Tai chi, Pilates and yoga trigger endorphins. Giving birth to a child is clearly a subcategory of both pain and stress. Light to moderate drinking stimulates endorphins, but heavy drinking doesn’t. Drugs that block the attachment of endorphins to receptors have been shown to eliminate cravings in alcoholics. Capsaicin, which puts the burn in chilies, also triggers the body to release some fire-quenching endorphins. Acupuncture and massage therapy trigger your inner drug dealer. Ultraviolet light also trigger endorphin production which may explain why some users of tanning beds achieve something of a "runner’s high," and why others may overuse them at the risk of their health.
- How Running Makes Us Happy (wiserunning.com)
- Exercise Gives You Endorphins (werkthroughfear.wordpress.com)
- 4 Reasons Why A 30-Minute Exercise Makes You Happier (mukeshbalani.wordpress.com)
- 10 Natural Mood Boosters (nicoleciccarelli.com)
- Endorphins, Natural Enemy of Sleep Deprivation, Depression and Stress (thenaturalhigh1.wordpress.com)
- No Pain… Alot To Gain (thenaturalhigh1.wordpress.com)
- Laugh out loud, doctor’s orders! (tecaclub.com)
Whether we exercise to lose weight, to reach a fitness goal or just for fun, exercise changes us. There is the red face and the sweating, the pounding heart and pumping lungs, the boost to our alertness and mood. We all know that staying physically active is essential to a long, healthy, productive life. We don’t often understand exactly what is happening behind the scenes.
Let us go through from head to toe and see what happens in the body when we exercise. The body calls on glucose; sugar the body has stored away from the foods we eat in the form of glycogen, for the energy required to contract muscles and spur movement. It also uses adenosine triphosphate, but the body only has small stores of both glucose and adenosine triphosphate. After quickly using up these supplies, the body requires extra oxygen to create more adenosine triphosphate. More blood is pumped to the exercising muscles to deliver that additional oxygen. Without enough oxygen, lactic acid will form instead. Lactic acid is typically flushed from the body within 30 to 60 minutes after finishing up a workout. Tiny tears form in the muscles that help them grow bigger and stronger as they heal. Soreness only means there are changes occurring in those muscles and this typically lasts a couple of days.
Our body needs up to 15 times more oxygen when we exercise, so we start to breathe faster and heavier. Our breathing rate will increase until the muscles surrounding the lungs just can’t move any faster. This maximum capacity of oxygen use is called VO2 max, which is the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual. The higher the VO2 max, the more fit a person is.
Like any muscle, the diaphragm can grow tired with all that heavy breathing. Some argue that as the diaphragm fatigues, it can spasm, causing a dreaded side stitch. Others argue a side stitch is due to spasms of the ligaments around the diaphragm instead, while others believe the spasms to originate in the nerves that run from the upper back to the abdomen and are caused by poor posture. Deep breathing and stretching can alleviate the discomfort in the middle of a workout, and preemptive strengthening in the gym can ward off future issues.
When we exercise, heart rate increases to circulate more oxygen via the blood at a quicker pace. The more we exercise, the more efficient the heart becomes at this process, so we can work out harder and longer. Eventually, this lowers resting heart rate in fit people. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, causing blood pressure to decrease in fit people. Because the body is pumping more blood to the muscles, it takes some away from the systems and functions that are not top priority at the moment, like digestion. This can result in tummy troubles. Movement, absorption and secretion in the stomach and intestines can all be affected.
Increased blood flow benefits the brain. Immediately, the brain cells will start functioning at a higher level, making us feel more alert and awake during exercise and more focused afterwards.
When we work out regularly, the brain gets used to this frequent surge of blood and adapts by turning certain genes on or off. Many of these changes boost brain cell function and protect from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or even stroke, and ward off age-related decline. Exercise triggers a surge of chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters, which include endorphins, often cited as the cause of the runner’s high. The brain releases dopamine and glutamate, too, to get those arms and legs moving, as well as gamma-aminobutyric acid, a prohibitive neurotransmitter that actually slows things down, to keep us moving in a smooth and controlled manner. We will feel better, thanks to a bump in serotonin; a neurotransmitter well known for its role in mood and depression.
Hippocampus part of the brain is highly involved in learning and memory, and it is one of the only sections of the brain that can make new brain cells. Exercise facilitates this, thanks to the extra oxygen in the brain. Even when we stop exercising, those new brain cells survive, whereas many other changes in the brain during exercise eventually return to their normal state should we become less active.
The hypothalamus is responsible for body temperature, as well as salt and water balance, among other duties. As our body heats up, it tells the skin to produce sweat to keep us cool. This control center in the brain alerts the adrenal glands to pump out the hormones necessary for movement. It also releases growth hormones. As the body searches for more fuel to burn after using up the glycogen stores, it will turn to either muscle or fat. Human growth hormone acts as a security guard for muscle, telling the body to burn fat for energy instead.
The rate at which the kidneys filter blood can change depending on the level of exertion. After intense exercise, the kidneys allow greater levels of protein to be filtered into the urine. They also trigger better water reabsorption, resulting in less urine, in what is likely an attempt to help keep us as hydrated as possible.
A number of the so-called "stress" hormones released by adrenal glands are actually crucial to exercise. Cortisol, for example, helps the body mobilize its energy stores into fuel and adrenaline helps the heart beat faster so it can more quickly deliver blood around the body. As we pick up the pace, the body, like any engine, produces heat and needs to cool off. The blood vessels in the skin dilate, increasing blood flow to the skin. The heat then dissipates through the skin into the air.
At the hypothalamus’s signal, one of two types of sweat glands, the eccrine glands, get to work. These sweat glands produce odorless perspiration, a mixture of water, salt and small amounts of other electrolytes, directly onto the skin’s surface and when the sweat evaporates into the air, our body temperature drops. The second type of sweat gland is found predominantly in hair-covered areas, like the scalp, armpits and groin. These sweat glands produce a fattier sweat, typically in response to emotional stress that can result in odor when bacteria on the skin begin to break it down. The capillaries close to the skin’s surface in the face dilate as well, as they strain to release heat. For some exercisers, this may result in a particularly red face after a workout.
Exercising puts extra weight on the joints, sometimes up to five or six times more than our bodyweight. Ankles, knees, hips, elbows and shoulders all have very different functions, but operate in similar ways. Each joint is lined with cushioning tissue at the ends of the bones called cartilage, as well as soft tissue and lubricating fluid, to help promote smooth and easy motion. Ligaments and tendons provide stability. Over time, the cushioning around the joints can begin to wear away or degenerate, as happens in people with osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis.