| GEO Health|
| Exercise relieves psychological effects of early trauma|
| Updated at: 1118 PST, Sunday, July 18, 2010|
LONDON: For those who underestimate the health benefits of exercise, here is an enlightening news. Scientists have found that exercise not only helps control weight it can also reverse the effects in the brain of psychological trauma experienced early in life.
A riveting research by medical experts from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has suggested that exercise and stress management are closely linked.
The study, published in the July issue of journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, revealed that daily workouts can ease anxiety and depression-like behaviours induced by an adverse early-life environment.
Higher energy forms of exercise like boxing, martial arts, or pulling weights can act as an effective outlet for releasing negative emotions, turning these otherwise potentially unhealthy emotions into positive ones for increased health and well-being.
According to researchers, it does so by altering the chemical composition in the hippocampus--part of the brain responsible for regulation of stress response.
Reportedly, exercise decreases ‘stress hormones' like cortisol, and increases endorphins, body's ‘feel-good’ chemicals, giving one’s mood a natural boost.
"What's exciting about this is that we are able to reverse a behavioural deficit that was caused by a traumatic event early in life, simply through exercise," said Margaret Morris, New South Wales' pharmacology professor.
The study also suggests that physical activity may be linked to lower physiological reactivity toward stress. Simply put, those who follow a strict exercise regime may be able to cope with stressful situations more effectively.
There may be a possibility that it happens because physical activity takes our mind off all the problems and redirects it on the exercises performed.
Since exercise involves change in environment from a highly stressful workplace to a less stressful place, it could lead to stress-relief.
Previous studies from University of New South Wales' School of Medical Sciences have shown that eating palatable food rich in fat and sugar helps achieve similar results.
Professor Morris will present the findings this week at the International Congress of Obesity in Stockholm.