Ever since I first started cycling, I was addicted to the calm, relaxed, positive feeling I experienced during and after the ride. No matter how stressed out I felt before the ride, once I settled into the pedaling, panting, and started to enjoy the scenery, my worries melted away and my mood improved. Biking makes me happier!

Now, research explains why. In a November 2007 article in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Mcgill University professor Simon N. Young suggests three ways to increase serotonin (the 'feel good' neurotransmitter) without the aid of drugs. Before exploring the three ways of increasing one's serotonin, Young makes an important point regarding one's mental health. He says that while happiness and positive mood are important in their own right, positive mood within the normal range is an important predictor of health and longevity. That is, one's mental health correlates with ones physical health, so, presumably, to reach your full physical potential as a triathlete, you must achieve sound mental condition, too.

First, to increase serotonin, Young says to experience a happy situation. Being happy releases serotonin and being sad inhibits it. Serotonin, in this way, acts as a mood reinforcer.

Second, exposure to bright light may increase serotonin. Young suggests that this may stem from earlier times when humans spent most of the day outdoors, farming or hunting.

Third, exercise has been clearly demonstrated to both improve mood and increase serotonin levels.

Triathlon training looks like the perfect way to increase your serotonin levels. Training makes you happy, it gets you outside, and it's exercise! Any one of these factors will make you feel better, that is, you don't need to have all three to feel better. Running on the treadmill will still get your exercising, even if your not outside.

Triathletes and exercise enthusiasts have known for years that doing what they love - running, swimming, biking - makes them feel great! Now, research is starting to understand why.


David Garbourg said... @ September 6, 2014 at 3:09 AM

Its nice informational sharing about depression and useful for all us. Thanks for sharing it with us, keep it on...

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