Why I work out…..

April 8, 2018

“Actions Expresses Priorities” Gandhi

 

Let me share a quick , life changing experience I had during my college years:

Weight:195 lbs

Height:5’5

Activity level: Average, gym 3 times a week, weights only

While finishing up a doughnut, I had realized that i had 5 minutes left until class started. It was 2008, Kean University in Union, NJ, CAS building which had an amazing cafe in the middle floor.  I ordered an orange juice with my doughnut, only to realize it was a lot of sugar, but decided to go about anyways since i didn’t have enough cash and needed to eat a quick “dinner”.

While bustling up the stairs with my one book , I realized half way to the 4th floor, that I was breathing insanely hard. I stopped on the side of the small platform that connected the 2 stairs, held onto the wall, hung my head down to relax and breath. I was 21 years old then. What really bothered me at that moment was a few things such as how hard my heart was pumping, how little stuff I was carrying, what crap food I was eating and knowing it. I was in a good position in my life then, just had gotten married, which I do blame part of my weight gain to. Before my marriage, I was 150 Lbs. I know, it was a big gain in literally 5 months.

When I got to class late, I got into school mode with taking notes and trying to focus on what the teacher was trying to have us memorize, as how most classrooms unfortunately work in our beloved country (We shall talk more about this topic in a separate blog post). After 15 minutes of listening and note taking, I ended up catching myself from dozing off and passing out due to the insulin crash from my sugary dinner. I had then gotten mad at myself, mad for eating something that would affect how I function for class and the rest of my day, upset on how I have been wasting my time playing video games or taking more than one nap throughout the day, at coming to campus early only to eat junk food and do homework last-minute. Then what I did was something that pretty much helped me construct a responsible way of starting all things big in my life. I flipped to the back of my notebook, gazed at the crisp, white, bare college bound notebook paper, and looked at it hard, with my brain now turning the gears, focusing on what I need to do to become a better me, what goals would I come up with first. So what i wrote in big letters at the top was BECOMING HEALTHY, BEING BETTER EVERYDAY. This headline, to this day, has kept me going, through trial and error, through rain or shine, to straight up acts of stubbornness to get to my destination, this headline has been my rock in my life of staying fit and pursing a much better, healthier lifestyle for myself and family.

After that headline, all my ideas and thoughts about how to make myself better through a healthier lifestyle just came pouring out of my pen. I had filled the page up with the big and small things that should be done so that I could not only lose the weight, but surround myself with all things healthy, athletic and positive to keep me going. At first, everyone at home thought I was crazy to even attempt to make a dramatically change to my lifestyle, as if I was almost stopping things bad cold turkey. Some people have that mind-set, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that i can’t try.

Here are some PROVEN, scientific reasons on why it is so good to work out:

Serotonin

Working up a sweat tells your body to increase production of a mood-boosting brain chemical called serotonin. People who are depressed often have low levels of serotonin. This, at least partially, explains why exercise lowers the risk of depression. The problem is when your serotonin level is low, you don’t feel like getting off the couch to exercise. Still, if you can force yourself to do it, it can lift your energy level and your spirits.

Millions of people take anti-depressant medications to raise their serotonin level but exercise is a natural serotonin booster. Interestingly, some studies show exercise is as effective as prescription antidepressants for easing depression. Aerobic exercise beats out resistance exercise for boosting serotonin. So, when you’re feeling down, get your blood pumping with a brisk bout of exercise.

Norepinephrine

When you exercise, especially a high-intensity workout, your adrenal glands, two small glands above your kidneys, as well as your brain ramp up production of norepinephrine, a substance that’s both a hormone and a brain chemical. When more norepinephrine flows into your bloodstream during exercise, you become more alert and focused. Norepinephrine also boosts memory retrieval, so you become better at retrieving information stored in your brain. This finding certainly makes a case for working out before a big exam or presentation at work, right?

Indeed, research supports the idea that exercise improves focus, attention, and the ability to concentrate. Immediately after a workout, your brain is better at accomplishing tasks and resisting distractions. How much more productive would you be at work if you did short bouts of exercise every hour or so?

If you’re easily distracted, exercise could be your ticket to getting more done. A study carried out at the University of Illinois found that exercise increases “cognitive control” in kids with ADHD. After only 20 minutes of exercise, the children were better able to focus and scored higher on tests.

BDNF

BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor and it may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts as a growth factor and promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells, or neurons. It also helps repair nerve cells that are damaged. BDNF is most active in regions of the brain involved in memory, particularly an area called the hippocampus. The good news is exercise increases brain production of BDNF by up to three times. You may not get an immediate boost in brain function from BDNF but it helps protect your brain against injury as it preserves cognitive function.

Dopamine

Dopamine is the “motivation” and “reward” brain chemical. On a given day, if you feel motivated and ready to tackle the day’s list of projects after a workout, you can thank dopamine.  It’s dopamine that gives us the motivation to achieve something of value or that makes us feel rewarded.

Without enough dopamine, you probably wouldn’t feel like putting forth the effort to do the things you need to do and that make you feel good. People who are depressed typically have a low dopamine level. The fact that exercise boosts the release of dopamine and serotonin partially explains why exercise is a natural mood lifter antidepressant.

Endorphins

Endorphins are the ultimate “feel good” chemicals. You’ve heard people talk about “runner’s high,” the feeling of bliss and oneness with the world that comes after running a while. Endorphins are the likely reason why, although some researchers believe other brain chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, play a role too. Plus, endorphins help to relieve pain.

Once you start pumping out endorphins, exercise no longer feels as hard. Finally, endorphins help to calm fear and anxiety, thereby making you feel more tranquil and at peace with yourself. No wonder studies show exercise helps to boost self-esteem and sense of well-being!

 

Citation:

https://cathe.com/5-brain-boosting-chemicals-released-during-exercise/

 

Thanks again folks for taking the time out of your day to read this, it really means a lot. I’ll attach some photos or videos of me over the years, hopefully you guys can see a change because all I see is a chubby chubster with always room for improvements:

IMG_1535.JPG

Feb 8th, 2016

May 3rd, 2017

2009-01-01 16.07.42.jpg

Jan 1st, 2009

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Feb 21st, 2009

 

 

 

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