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Exercise and Mental Health

Updated: May 2, 2021

Good news for those of us that find ourselves stressed a lot, exercise may make it easier to bounce back from stress.

Maybe not surprising, but a good reminder of something we’ve known to be true for some time: exercise improves mood and outlook.

Dr. David Weinshenker, a professor of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta is the author of a new study on the chemicals in our bodies related to stress.

Although this new study involves frazzled mice, it’s likely to have implications for us frazzled humans as well.

The primary focus of the research is galanin, a peptide produced throughout the body in many animals, including humans. Galanin has been known to be associated with mental health, such that people born with genetically low levels of galanin face an uncommonly high risk of depression and anxiety disorders.

The good news of the study is this: multiple studies show that exercise increases production of galanin. The more galanin produced, the more stress resilient the mice showed.

We know we’re not mice, however, we know getting regular exercise will improve our physical and mental health, especially during the stressful times of uncertainty we face.


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