After leaving a Strong or Stronger class at The Fit In, do you wonder why you may be bizarrely happier? If you've felt this, it's not just because you were hanging with your workout faves. Enter the magical world of myokines – the proteins produced by muscle cells that can make us feel high on life. So, let’s dive into the fascinating research surrounding these little wonders and see how strength training is the key to unlocking happiness.
What Are Myokines?
In its simplest form, myokines are proteins produced by muscle cells in response to muscular contractions. Think of them as messengers that your muscles send out whenever they’re put to work. These little proteins play a significant role in how our body and mind function. Research has found that myokines have several benefits, ranging from anti-inflammatory properties to, yes, mood-enhancing effects (Pedersen & Febbraio, 2008).
Strength Training: More Than Just Muscles
Although any exercise can induce the production of myokines, strength training, in particular, seems to have a unique relationship with these proteins. When we challenge our muscles with resistance exercises like what we do in Strong or even in Pilates, we're not just toning and building muscle; we're also releasing a cocktail of beneficial myokines into our system (Pedersen, 2019).
Benefits of Myokines:
Mood Elevation: Just like endorphins, myokines can play a part in making us feel happier post-workout. This can lead to the “exercise high” that many strength-training lovers talk about (Kandola et al., 2020).
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is linked to various diseases, and myokines have shown potential in combating this inflammation (Pedersen, 2017).
Improved Brain Health: Yes, you read that right. Myokines can help in brain function and may even protect against neurodegenerative diseases (Moon et al., 2016).
Metabolic Boost: These proteins can enhance energy expenditure and fat oxidation, making your body a more efficient machine (Raschke & Eckel, 2013).
- Protection against Chronic Diseases: Evidence suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of myokines can help combat chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Seldin et al., 2012).
The Happier The Better
Given all these fantastic benefits, it’s hard to deny the powerful link between strength training, myokines, and happiness. It's not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good from the inside out. The next time you think about skipping that The Fit In session, remember the army of happiness-inducing proteins waiting to be released.
So, the next time someone asks why you're love The Fit In so much; let them know it’s your happy place!
- Pedersen, B. K., & Febbraio, M. A. (2008). Muscle as an endocrine organ: focus on muscle-derived interleukin-6. Physiological Reviews, 88(4), 1379-1406.
- Pedersen, B. K. (2019). Physical activity and muscle–brain crosstalk. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 15(7), 383-392.
- Kandola, A., Hendrikse, J., Lucassen, P. J., & Yücel, M. (2020). Aerobic exercise as a tool to improve hippocampal plasticity and function in humans: practical implications for mental health treatment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 373.
- Moon, H. Y., Becke, A., Berron, D., Becker, B., Sah, N., Benoni, G., ... & Bolz, L. (2016). Running-induced systemic cathepsin B secretion is associated with memory function. Cell metabolism, 24(2), 332-340.
- Raschke, S., & Eckel, J. (2013). Adipo-myokines: two sides of the same coin—mediators of inflammation and mediators of exercise. Mediators of inflammation, 2013.
- Seldin, M. M., Peterson, J. M., Byerly, M. S., Wei, Z., & Wong, G. W. (2012). Myonectin (CTRP15), a novel myokine that links skeletal muscle to systemic lipid homeostasis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287(15), 11968-11980.