Think back to the last time you worked out. You got it? Now, think back to how you felt when you finished. Despite the sweat and perhaps a little muscle fatigue, you felt good didn't you. Maybe even, happy? Were you ready to take on your day or night in the best of moods? Why was that? It wasn't just because you completed a workout (though way to go!); rather, it was because that workout cued up a hearty helping of endorphins.
So what exactly are endorphins? Well, I'm glad you asked, endorphins are tiny chemicals found throughout the body, similar to hormones. They are produced in the brain and work to minimize one's perception of pain. Endorphins are often likened to drugs like morphine and codeine—but they are not addictive, nor can one become dependent on them.
This, of course, is why doctors often suggest to individuals suffering from depression to hit the gym as a form of treatment. Exercise triggers the production of endorphins, which ultimately work to promote a relaxed state of being. It makes sense, right? The more relaxed you are, the less pain you'll feel. And as you can imagine, such a state lends itself well to better moods and a smiling disposition.
Formed in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in vertebrates, endorphins are neurotransmitters that release into the blood stream and pass along messages from one neuron to the next, and in the case of exercise they block pain and give you a sense of well being as you exert yourself. Yay science! Trust me that's all great, but it doesn't take a genius to see the role endorphins play in that feel-good state of being you get after a workout. You simply have to hit the gym to believe it.
Scratch that—you simply have to move to believe it. It's not strength training alone or time spent running that triggers your supply of endorphins. It's activity, plain and simple. Movement. Getting up and going, rather than just sitting. And that, of course, is the best part about endorphins. You don't need a prescription, you don't have to pay for them—unless, of course, you count the sweat.
According to WebMD, "regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem and improve sleep." Not because you successfully completed your repetitions. Not because you upped the weight or held a plank a few more seconds. Not even because you ran one more mile than the last time you laced up. It's because you did all of that, and your body responded by releasing endorphins. It's those endorphins that make your brain smile. Which, in turn, makes you smile.
So get up! Go! Claim your next endorphin rush today!
Tara Sabo is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, mother and wife. She writes about these roles and more at www.adailydoseoffit.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, too.
- Savvy Moms Use the PokitDok Marketplace to Save on Healthcare - November 14, 2014
- How Healthcare Will be Transformed in the Next 5 years - October 28, 2014
- PokitDok Announces National Health Price Index & Scheduling Feature - October 21, 2014
- Not Enough Sleep: Secret to Success or Contributor to our Rising Healthcare Costs? - October 16, 2014
- The PokitDok Team is Expanding - Meet Our New Hires - October 8, 2014
- CEO Lisa Maki Demos PokitDok’s Simple, Patient-driven Enterprise Solution - October 2, 2014
- Telemedicine Poised for Growth, but Barriers Hinder Widespread Adoption - August 28, 2014
- When Healthcare Coverage "Loopholes" Leave Consumers Holding the Bag - August 26, 2014
- How Much Will Your Annual Well Check Cost? - August 21, 2014
- Why a Growing Number of Employees are Choosing High-deductible Healthcare Plans - August 19, 2014
Tags: Healthcare consumerism