We all know exercise releases endorphins and that they make you feel a natural high, but what are they?
Endorphins are basically your body’s natural feel good chemicals. They are neurotransmitters – chemicals which function to transmit signals within the nervous system. They pass signals from one neuron to the next.
Endorphins are produced as your body’s response to stress, fear or pain and work as natural painkillers. They originate from various parts of your body, with the most commonly known being the pituitary gland (which is in the brain).
One of the most commonly known times that endorphins are released is during sustained, vigorous exercise. Endorphins work to reduce the perception of pain in the brain, acting in a similar way to drugs such as morphine and codeine. So they diminish the pain associated with exercise, allowing you to exercise for longer, and at higher intensities.
In addition to decreased feelings of pain, endorphins are also associated with feelings of euphoria and lowered stress, which is why you get the ‘post workout glow’.
To put it simply – endorphins make you happy!
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