Understanding Serotonin Levels during Exercise

Serotonin levels affect the way a person feels. This is the main reason why some people have referred to serotonin as the feel-good hormone. Aside from making people happy, it also helps control sleeping habits. There are several conditions which may arise if serotonin levels are low. Often, a person gets depressed or stressed out when the body lacks serotonin. Migraines are another indicator that serotonin levels are below the recommended the amount. While serotonin levels may be boosted using different kinds of drugs or medication, still, experts emphasize that natural methods are just as efficient.

Serotonin and Depression

Around 75 percent of serotonin in the body can be found in the cells of the gut. The main purpose of such a chemical is to control intestinal movements. The remaining 25 percent is synthesized in the brain. The rate of serotonin production in the neurons determines the mood of a person. High serotonin levels are linked with elevated or happier moods, whereas low levels are linked with feelings of anxiety and depression.

Although neurotransmitters also affect the mood, serotonin is considered as one of the most crucial aspects influencing it. Likewise, there are several factors which can affect the levels of serotonin in the body. One of these is exercise.


Exercise is considered as one of the most efficient stimulators of serotonin. While exercise is linked to weight loss most of the time, it can in fact also help a person feel better. Several studies have found that once a person engages in physical activities, particularly workout routines or other exercise programs, the brain’s serotonin function increases.

Further, studies have also been able to establish two primary mechanisms wherein exercise increases serotonin levels in the brain. Firstly, physical activities increase both the frequency and rate of serotonin release in the brain. Likewise, serotonin synthesis also increases. Secondly, exercise also increases the production of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used in the synthesis and release of serotonin.

Exercise Recommendations

There are many types of exercise a person can do to increase serotonin levels. Some of these include: weight training, Pilates, yoga and even stretching exercises for flexibility. Other effective exercise routines include: walking, swimming, biking and running. Experts have noted that the more physically demanding the exercise is, the better chances at increasing the production of serotonin in the brain. Basically, the recommended exercise routine is around 3 hours a week or 30 minutes each day of the week. The 30-minute recommendation may be divided into three; for example, 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Taking note of how exercise affects serotonin levels only proves how important it is to the body. However, before doing any exercise routine, it is important to check first with a health or physical fitness expert. Some body conditions may not allow a person to do physically demanding things. Otherwise, for people who want to feel good, relieve stress and stay healthy, exercise is the best way to do so.


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