Live Real. Eat Real.

Let’s Get Physical

Let’s be honest here – my idea of exercise consists of yelling for The Young One to run down to the basement and bring me a jar of tomato sauce.

And I have the ass to prove it.

Making a deal with TC, my young diabetic friend, to exercise every day of the Whole30 was probably the best thing I’d done for quite some time.  Yes, I was disappointed that I only lost 2 1/2 pounds after it was all said and done, but there was another benefit I hadn’t really considered when I’d agreed:  it made me feel better.

Understanding the health benefits of exercise is one thing; doing it is something else all together.  I don’t necessarily enjoy it so I tend to do it grudgingly, and heretofore the only thing it made me feel once it was over was gratitude that I wasn’t doing it any more.  However, recently I’ve found that it offers a measure of relief – sometimes a great deal of it – when I’m getting to the point where I’d gladly punch bunnies and kick puppies.

Which is not to say that I’m going to join a Crossfit gym ever in my life any time soon, but if walking on the treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes 4 or 5 days a week will keep me from gouging my loved ones in the eyes with a letter opener, then hey – I’m all for  it.

But why does it make me feel better?

Just a little consultation with Dr. Google reveals something rather frustrating, if not downright depressing:  no one can really tell you for sure what causes the often erratic mood swings that accompany perimenopause.  However, it seems that the hormone imbalances caused by the decreasing frequency of ovulation – in other words, an increase in estrogen and decrease in progesterone – affects the body’s production of both endorphins and, more importantly, serotonin.

While both endorphins and serotonin are known for boosting emotions, serotonin produces a milder effect, causing happiness and feelings of security. Endorphins, on the other hand, are a more intense form of pleasure, sparking such intense reactions as euphoria and ecstasy, depending on the amount of endorphins circulating in the bloodstream at any given time. At low levels, endorphins can produce the mild effects of relaxation and joy, similar to those produced by serotonin, making regular, moderate exercise very important, especially when you’re feeling particularly stabby.

We’ll address exercise and weight loss (or, if you’re fortunate, management) at a later date.

For more sweaty Spins, run on over and visit Gretchen at Second Blooming.  On the double, people.

From the blog