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Endorphins and Exercise

Exercise for people with PD can be highly beneficial for so many reasons; improved balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, etc. Exercise can also be helpful in reducing anxiety, stress, depression, and improving mood. What is one reason why we see so many great benefits from exercise in motor and non-motor symptoms? Endorphins! 

What does "endorphin" mean exactly? 

The word endorphin actually comes from two different words: endogenous and morphine. Endogenous means produced by your body and morphine means pain relief. Endorphins are hormones that our brain releases to help reduce stress and pain. Endorphins are released during activities that bring you joy and when you are under stress. 

How does endorphins impact PD?

Studies have shown that people with PD who exercise regularly have larger amounts of endorphins compared to those who do not exercise. Exercise has also been shown to activate the areas of our brain that involve our reward system. What does this mean? It means that those who are more active show less motor symptoms compared to those that don’t exercise. 

Exercise and endorphins have also been shown to help with depression, anxiety, apathy, sleep, and various other non-motor symptoms. The neat part around endorphins is that when they activate the reward areas of your brain, it creates that euphoric feeling that makes you want to continue exercising in the future!

As much as I love exercise, it is not the only way one can get a boost of endorphins. Filling your days with activities that you love like reading, painting, cooking, eating certain foods, etc. can help your brain release endorphins. 

Interested in getting started with exercising? Check out our website for all the PD specific classes in our area.



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