Exercise

Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates. They cause a body to feel pleasure. When you abuse opiates and flood you brain/body with an excess amount your body decreasing making these chemicals naturally and frequently becomes dependent on these artificial opiates (narcotics/opiate based prescription drugs typically pain pills). Exercising produces endorphins naturally thus helping in the recovery process. 

Improve your brain and health performance- On-line personal trainer program

7 Benefits of regular daily activity- Mayo Clinic
5 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise- US New
Lack of exercise as ‘deadly’ as smoking

Why Being Active Makes You Happy   By Michael O’Shea

By now, you probably know all about the physical benefits of exercise, but new research shows that getting fit improves your psychological health too. “Most of us have heard about endorphins, the natural morphine-like compounds that our bodies release when we exercise long enough,” says Dr. James Dillard, one of the fitness experts on our PARADE All-America Get Fit panel. “But many other body compounds also are changed by exercise, including serotonin, which keeps us from getting depressed, and dopamine, which keeps us motivated.” 

Less Stress and Anxiety
In the short term, exercise gives your roving mind a rest by providing a time-out from your worries. (It’s hard to obsess about your to-do list when you’re concentrating on your next push-up.) So think of your workout as a mini-vacation: For 30 minutes, you will not answer the phone, check e-mail or take care of others. That alone might lower your anxiety level, but over time the stress-reducing effects become physical. 

Exercise breaks down the hormones and other chemicals that build up during periods of intense stress, reports the American Council on Exercise. Researchers also believe it helps treat nervous tension: The electrical activity of tense muscles decreases measurably after a bout of exercise. 

A Better Mood
Recent studies indicate that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild depression. Moderately depressed individuals who engage in aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at least every other day often experience an upswing in their mood within two to three weeks. Researchers believe this may be due to changes in brain chemicals, including an increase in endorphins, and decreases in cortisol and other stress hormones. Even short periods of exercise, such as a brief walk, can have an immediate positive effect. And consider exercising with a friend or taking a class: Social interaction has been proved to help with depression.

A Full Night’s Sleep
The equation is simple: More physical activity equals less insomnia. Exercise helps ensure a good night’s rest in two key ways: The simple act of moving tires your body out, leaving you less likely to toss and turn. Working out also reduces stress hormones and anxiety, which can contribute to sleeplessness. 

An Improved Self-Image 
By taking positive steps to improve your health and looks, you gain a feeling of control over your life and body. That sense of accomplishment and confidence will carry over to other areas of your life, raising your overall self-esteem. While you are working out, nip any negative self-talk in the bud (I hate how I look. I can’t believe I’m so fat.) and concentrate instead on appreciating all that your body is capable of doing.  

A Sense of Spirituality 
Experts view increased spiritual awareness as an added bonus of the mind/body connection of exercise. The growing popularity of yoga, for instance, is not due just to its physical benefits. Through its noncompetitive nature and emphasis on breathing, yoga can help you learn to live “in the moment.” You don’t need to do a “downward dog” to reap the spiritual benefits of exercise, though. A solitary walk can help you feel more at one with nature and gain a sense of peace.