exercise-and-happiness-1024x791Endorphin’s are certain chemicals that can cross through the gaps between neurons and pass along messages from one to the next. There is a huge variety of endorphins and science is just beginning to tap into and understand information about their different functions and purposes.

There is however one thing that we already know about endorphin’s and that is their ability to make us feel oh-so-good.

Certain stimuli such as food, pain or sex cause your hypothalamus to call for endorphin’s and the cells in your body that house them heed the call. The oh-so-good feeling we associate with endorphin’s is created when they lock into “opioid receptors” (special receptor cells) and block the transmission of pain signals producing a euphoric feeling similar to opiates.

Endorphin’s are personal…meaning that each person has different amounts of endorphin’s and what triggers an endorphin rush in one person could very well be totally absent in another.

We often associate endorphin’s with “runner’s high” or strength training, but endorphin’s come into play every day. We can get a shot of endorphin’s just by eating a hot chili pepper as the endorphin’s come to our aide to ease the pain.

Exercising to reduce stress or a depressed mood is powerful because of the endorphin’s that are released that make us feel good. Even taking a nice long walk in nature makes us feel better so you can imagine what some challenging exercise would do as it forces the release of feel-good endorphin’s. In fact, whenever you find that your mood is less than desirable, or you seem down in the dumps for any reason at all, challenging exercise is the key to getting back on track.

However, research has shown that the euphoric feeling that one experiences affectionately called “runner’s high” cannot be achieved by light-to-moderate weight training or cardiovascular exercise. Only when heavy weights are used or the training incorporates sprinting or some other anaerobic exertion can “runner’s high” be experienced.

Basically “runner’s high” occurs when the body crosses over to an anaerobic state from an aerobic state and it suddenly finds itself 0b48859without enough oxygen to satisfy the muscles and cells crying out for it.

There are so many benefits to working out and staying active on a regular basis. Not only will you experience and enjoy toned muscles, a kicking metabolism, increased sleep quality and strong immune system, but you’ll notice that you are less stressed, less anxious and just plain happier with oodles of energy. Studies done at Arizona State University show that exercise actually works better than meditation, relaxation, music therapy and education for releasing stress and dealing with anxiety. And, because challenging exercise also helps us to sleep better, when we wake we’re ready to tackle the world with confidence.

So, the next time your mood is not up to snuff…you’re feeling down in the dumps, depressed or anxious about something don’t reach for the medicine cabinet…try a challenging workout instead. Not only does exercise change the shape of your body for the better, it has the power to change your outlook on life to a positive one. You’ll not only be healthier but you’ll be happier…you’ll feel better not just for the moment but for days on end.

So, what are you waiting for? Your happiness is just a workout away.

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Carolyn Hansen Fitness

I promise to inspire, inform, motivate and sometimes maybe even tick you off a little, but, I WILL get you thinking about your health in ways that you will not even begin to imagine.