1. Exercise helps prevent depression
Blood flow is increased to the brain from exercise and this releases endorphins, the body’s natural antidepressant. Other similar neurotransmitters are also released, such as serotonin, which improve your mood. Endorphins interact with the brain’s receptors that control the perception of pain; they also activate a positive, happy feeling similar to that of morphine. Exercise boosts the action of these endorphins. Exercise also stimulates norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter which can help improve mood.
In a nutshell: Exercise affects the same receptors as antidepressant medication, but exercise also increases feelings of accomplishment and self-worth. You experience a series of “small wins” each time you complete a set, an exercise or workout and you look forward to the next.