Muskeln machen glücklich

Muscles make us happy!

Muscles make us happy, and not just by allowing our surroundings to admire or be entertained by the fruits of our labour – showcased by shirts which may or may not have been intentionally bought a size too small. No, muscles score with their inner values! Who or what primarily benefits from methods for increased muscle growth? The posture, metabolism, silhouette, flexibility, or the impressive, disciplined silver back? Yes, all honorable mentions – however, the following will surprise many: scientific studies found substantial, though maybe not immediately obvious, benefits for the areas in the brain responsible for controlling bodily movements.

Another side effect shouldn’t be neglected when we observe ‘Tarzan’s’ or ‘Jane’s’ performances, because the body uses muscles to communicate with the audience. The audience, massaging core muscles and releasing happiness hormones, has many reasons to take such pleasure in muscly presentations. It makes perfect sense, then, to take a closer look at the muscle and the fibres of its very soul.

Strength training releases neurotransmitters

There are numerous scientific perspectives on whether or not our courtship demeanour, essentially unchanged since the stone ages, justifies fully throwing oneself into building muscle, while neglecting the other benefits strength training can entail.

Our muscles and metabolism have barely changed since those times spent running around in caves, researches such as Prof. Heiko Strüder from the Sports University in Cologne, Germany, assess. Over there, scientists have been researching this muscle myth for a while. Muscles can communicate in many different ways, including but not limited to the one discussed above. Their innermost workings affect neurotransmitters, which are still difficult to understand, but seem to only respond to direct muscular stimulation. However, it‘s hardly enough to yell at a relaxed muscle in the mirror, as muscles too are more sensitive than we usually assume.

Stone Age movements are more modern than we think

Above all else, the muscle yearns to be moved the way it was in the stone ages, and to be understood and valued as one of our most important organs. Whereas the muscle still lives in the stone ages, we, however, live in modern civilization, which obviously and regularly creates misunderstandings.

The muscle says to the brain: “I‘m sooo old, but you’re sooo smart, so much smarter than you were 2 million years ago. Why don’t you get it, then, that your way of thinking and living leads to civilised illnesses like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, cancer, and depression? I keep sending you love letters you can feel whenever you play with me, hey brain, are you listening to me?”

A seemingly insurmountable hurdle in the search of an honest conversation. Numerous people have dedicated themselves to helping the muscle and the brain communicate properly. Prof. Dr. Detlev Ganten from the Charité in Berlin:

“We‘re living in conflict and imbalance, because indigenous peoples have always moved, hunted, and worked for their food. Today, this same musculature isn’t necessary for survival. We don’t move nearly enough!‘

Movement is especially important for the brain

So, our ancestors had to go through strength and endurance trainings – again and again – just to have something to eat. From my experience as a Personal Trainer, this inheritance is extremely relevant today. Klarlund Pedersen from the Rigshospitalet Copenhagen is one of the researches studying the aforementioned transmitters. She calls them myokines. Twelve of them are currently known, many more yet to be discovered. Myokines are the muscles’ transmitters, similar to hormones, which activate the burning of fat, help the liver degrade built up glucose, and allow the pancreas to function smoothly.

Myokines support the regeneration of blood and muscle cells

Additionally, myokines are anti-inflammatory and can therefore lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. There are thought to be about 400 of them, deeply affecting the metabolic processes of the organs and our entire body. And all that with just around 3.5h of movement per week.

As discussed above, the brain is a part of the entire organ system, benefits from and gets ‚fertilised’ by numerous mysterious transmitters that get released whenever muscles are utilised. It‘s no breaking news that people who exercise regularly, or at least more than not at all, are usually in a better mental state. Breaking news is however the massive scale of this effect.

Many physicians in english-speaking countries therefore prescribe exercise to treat depression! The Brain Derived Neutropic Factor, BDNF for short, is one of the substances being produced in the brain and in muscles during muscle activity, and is barely detected in people with lethargy, lack of movement, alzheimer’s, or depression. Physical activity is an essential stimulator für BDNF, and can therefore improve cognitive and learning abilities, and in old age, too!

In Germany, neuroscientists at the University of Bonn and sports scientists in Cologne collaborate closely to further research this phenomenon.

Exercise works well against depression!

“Many people are still waiting for the magical exercise or weight loss pill, which, no matter how cleverly constructed, neither can nor will replace daily training“, said internist Pedersen.

Exerting our muscles triggers an entire orchestra of genes, whose interplay creates a muscle-melody and allows the aforementioned processes to occur. One question remains: are pharmacologically created genetic changes to humans really a sensible, healthy, and ethically sound alternative, or should they be restricted to laboratory rats? ‘Nobody knows the truth’.

More and more scientific evidence supports the notion that it’s beneficial for one‘s holistic quality of life to remove oneself from the couch, and to motivate and conduct one‘s ‘muscle orchestra’. Building muscle as a way to improve the communication between the body and the headquarters is currently still the best way to get or stay fit, and functions as living anti-aging. soulboxer🥊🙏❤️