Faithful readers of BEYG know that we are not advocates of exercising for weight loss. But we can't think of a better way to stay fit and feel great. Regular exercise makes a body feel wonderful, when not done to excess, and folks who are physically active just know that it has positive effects on their mental health as well.
Now some clever scientists at Princeton University are showing how regular exercise can produce new cells in the brain that do not react to stress. The article, goes into depth on this study and others which are demonstrating how rats brains are changing in response to exercise, and are becoming less anxious and stressed. Several studies involve putting rats on a running program and then subjecting them to laboratory-induced stressful situations. The runner rats were cool as cucumbers.
"It looks more and more like the positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms," says one graduate student affiliated with the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Laboratory at Dartmouth. And it appears that the benefits appear somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks of getting on a regular training program. In the University of Colorado experiments, for instance, rats that ran for only three weeks did not show much reduction in stress-induced anxiety, but those that ran for at least six weeks did. "'Something happened between three and six weeks,' says Benjamin Greenwood, a research associate in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, who helped conduct the experiments."
It's no surprise that there aren't any quick wins in the exercise department. Good things come to those who wait, and persevere. I'd better shut my laptop and start doing my exercises!