Magic Pill, Episode #10: 'Exercise Is Like Taking A Little Prozac And A Little Ritalin'

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When Eddie's patients come back and tell him they're exercising regularly, he asks, "Well, what keeps you exercising?"

Invariably they point to their head and say, "It just makes me feel better. I yell at the kids less, I'm more creative, I'm sleeping better, my mood is better." And the research backs them up. Listen to the full episode above.


A Closer Look

It's common to talk about "runner's high" and endorphins. But Dr. Eddie Phillips says it goes way beyond that now.

We are actually increasing our serotonin, our norepinephrine. To borrow a phrase, we're "dopaminizing" — we're increasing the dopamine in our brains. That's the same [chemical] that is released when you eat certain foods and have sex and take drugs — it's all releasing the same neurochemistry. And it's just from lifting the weights and going for a little run.

In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association listed exercise as a treatment for depression. And by the way, Michelle Obama is on record saying that she gets depressed if she doesn't get her exercise in.

Andrea Ansuaje tapered off medication and managers her mood with daily exercise. (Courtesy)
Andrea Ansuaje tapered off medication and manages her mood with daily exercise. (Courtesy)

Enjoyed The Music?

That was Ripe performing the song "Downward."

(Courtesy Ripe)
(Courtesy Ripe)

Ripe is a seven-piece funk group from Boston. Lead singer Robbie Wulfsohn and the band met at Berklee and have since played all over Boston and the U.S., as well as supported G. Love on tour.

You can listen to the full Magic Pill playlist here.

CommonHealth Recommendations

--Check out Dr. John Ratey's book "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise And The Brain"

--Why To Exercise Today: It's Like Prozac Plus Ritalin

--Why To Exercise Today: Better Grades

Headshot of Carey Goldberg

Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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