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Workouts Reduce Pain, Inflammation & More

The Benefits Of A Feelgood Workout

A good workout helps treat several of the body's aches and pains.

By John Salak

The notion of ‘feel the pain when exercising’ is getting a complete makeover thanks to researchers at Britain’s University of Nottingham. A good workout not only increases a cannabis-like substance in the body, but it also helps reduce inflammation and just might help in treating conditions such as arthritis, cancer and heart disease.  

The university’s study found that exercise not only helps those with arthritis reduce pain, but a good sweat lowered the amount of inflammatory substances known as cytokines. Beyond this, those exercising generated more cannabis-like substances called endocannabinoids, the research team reported. 

The beneficial changes to the body brought on by exercise actually came by way of alterations to gut microbes in individuals. The fact that exercise can reduce chronic inflammation and its potential to lead to debilitating conditions such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease was already well known in scientific circles. What wasn’t known is how working out actually reduced inflammation. 

The university tackled the issue by examining almost 80 people with arthritis. Approximately half the group exercised daily for six weeks, while the other half did nothing.   

After completing the test run, those who exercised not only saw their pain diminish, but they also had more microbes in their guts, which in turn generated anti-inflammatory substances, lowered levels of cytokines and increased the amount of endocannabinoids. 

Apparently, the key to generating more anti-inflammatory substances was a rise in endocannabinoids that came through greater levels of gut microbes called SCFAS. Researchers, in fact, noted that at least one-third of the anti-inflammatory effects of the gut microbiome were a result of increased endocannabinoids. 

“Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-type substances. Which can have a positive impact on many conditions, said Doctor Amrita Vijay, the study’s first author and a fellow at the University School of Medicine. 

The university’s insights into the impact of exercise came at a particularly interesting time, Vijay noted.   

“As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements increases, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions like exercise can modulate endocannabinoids,” she said. 

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