What Are Endorphins?
Endorphins are chemicals called neurotransmitters that our central nervous system and pituitary gland produce to help us cope with stress or pain. There are numerous activities that can cause an endorphin release in your body such as laughing, meditation, and even eating chocolate. Of course, EXERCISE is something that can cause a big BOOST.
When are endorphins released?
Endorphins are produced in our brains during physical exercise, eating, drinking, or pregnancy. Once they are released, they block pain signals and reduce pain by interacting with our brains’ opiate receptors.
Because they are part of our reward pathways, endorphins also relieve stress and increase pleasure. This allows us to keep going even when we’re stressed or injured, meaning that it contributes to our survival.
BENEFITS OF ENDORPHINS
There are numerous benefits of endorphins, which means it is great for our overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that exercise may be a good way to fight depression exactly because of the effects of endorphin.
This neurotransmitter is also known to help relieve stress and anxiety. Endorphin induces positive feelings, which causes people to feel optimistic and confident while boosting self-esteem. It also has an active role in regulating appetite and helps to reduce weight. As it blocks pain, endorphins help during childbirth.
HOW TO BOOST ENDORPHINS?
There are so many physical benefits from working out. There is also a great mental benefit that is attributed to endorphins. Exercise releases endorphins – that’s why we feel good after a long run or an intense workout. Any amount of exercise will provide a boost, of course, the more the better.
Studies show that the greatest endorphin release happens after one hour of intense exercise
Group exercise could get you an even bigger boost
Best exercise to release endorphins
All types of exercise can cause an increase of these neurotransmitters, but some are more effective than others. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is considered best for boosting an endorphin release.
Here are 5 HIIT exercises that should get your heart pumping.
BOX JUMP – This move works your entire body. Be sure to use a box wide enough to provide a solid surface for landing.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and about 12″ behind your box.
- Hinge hips and lower to a quarter squat. You should feel your weight in your glutes and heels as you swing your arms back.
- Actively reverse the motion. Extend your hips and legs swinging arms forward for momentum to jump onto the box.
- Landing should be gently on balls of your feet with soft knees and feet planted on the box. Do NOT let your heels hang off the edge of the box.
- Straighten legs driving through your hips to stand tall.
- Step down each foot at a time, alternating legs after every jump.
Form is the most important thing with this move so focus on technique not reps.
Biking – This form of exercise engages your legs and core in a way that makes it easy to intensify. You can increase the incline or add weights to your pedals to make your workout satisfy a HIIT goal.
Kettlebell Swing – Have you tried crunching while you’re holding a kettlebell between your legs? Then swing it up while you extend your legs. This will not only work your thighs and glutes (squat), but it will engage your core, calves and arms because you’re keeping your body and kettlebell balanced. Here are some other kettlebell moves you might like – get creative.
Man-Maker – If this doesn’t put hair on your chest, nothing will.
- Begin in a push-up position holding a weight in each hand.
- Row an arm at a time, then do a push-up.
- Jump to your feet in a squatting position.
- Raise weights above your head and push your body to a standing straight position.
Sprinting – Sprinting can multiply the number of endorphins you produce and can be more enjoyable than running long distances while keeping the same pace.
- Run as fast as you can (maintain proper running form), for 30 seconds.
- Straighten up and walk for another 30 seconds – then do it again.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There are many ways to raise endorphin levels such as laughing with friends, indulging in some dark chocolate or even watching a movie that stirs up your emotions. Of course, exercise is felt to be an excellent choice to get a BOOST – while improving your overall health and wellness at the same time.