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Old 06-28-2006, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Exercise Decreases Depression --> Why?

chemical change: well I imagine the increased cortisol and endoprhins from exercise would have a relaxing effect. Also increase in growth hormones and other anabolic hormones may contribute to a sense of well being

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Great two hormones to discuss. Interestingly enough on cortisol, it appears to be inversely related to positive mood acutely (which is not necessarily that bad because there are other hormones that you mention that help counter this), and chronically it actually appears to be a main culperate for actually causing atrophy in certain regions of the brain. Essentially it appears that certain regions of the brain, particularly the hippocampus are associated with the capacity to constantly form new cells daily! When this process is interferred with, the hippocampus atrophies and depression is strongly linked with this.

I'm also glad you discussed endorphins. There is a lot of debate as to their function in exercise and depression, whcih I'll discuss
in my summary and thoughts latter. But in short, I think they are a critical component to the antidepressant effects of exercise.

Perhaps there is an innate, inherent drive within the human individual toward as long a life asa possible and this is driven by a mechanism which associates (or even rewards) activites which can prolong the life cycle (such as exercise, good nutrition, sunshine etc) with feeling good (general well being, good mood etc.). Similarly, activities of detriment to the life cycle (inactivity, poor nutrition, insufficient sleep, lack of sunshine) are discouraged by stimulating feelings of depression.

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Very insightful! That sounds like it would make a great paper!
Dr. Jacob Wilson, Ph.D, CSCS
Professor of Exercise Science, University of Tampa Bay

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