Dopamine plays a vital role in why exercise and physical activity feels easy to some, but exhausting to others, a new John Hopkins study reports.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel good. Having the right amount of dopamine is important both for your body and your brain. Dopamine helps nerve cells to send messages to each other. Parkinson’s disease is marked by a loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain over time.

Do you feel excitement, pleasure, and eagerness to carry out exercise or other activities to ‘feel good’? To be rewarded? That’s Dopamine, a brain chemical, kicking in.

The findings could lead to more effective ways to help people begin and stick to exercise regimes, and, because people with Parkinson’s were the subjects in this study, the results  shed new light on the fatigue associated with depression and Parkinson’s disease.

Study leader Vikram Chib, Ph.D reports:

“This study’s results suggest that the amount of dopamine availability in the brain is a key factor.”

Dopamine levels determine how much effort you are willing to exert to complete an exercise task and your sense of ‘easiness’ or ‘difficulty’ when you exercise.

Full report
Source: John Hopkins University

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