3 Fun Facts about Endorphins: The Ultimate Natural Anti-Depressant

This weekend wasn’t a good one for me. Everything seemed to go wrong- missed appointments, a failed dinner attempt, working all day on a Sunday- no bueno!

My one saving grace? Endorphins.

When I got to spin class on Sunday morning it was half-empty; I guess Sunday isn’t a popular day at the gym. I forced myself to take a bike in the front row to keep me honest, eventhough I hadn’t been to spin in months and I didn’t know the instructor. Trés risky! During the first few minutes of class the instructor’s peppiness was annoying, but as we eased passed the warm-up and into the workout I felt my body (and my mind) loosen up.

 “Focus on your breathing.”
“Let every worry out of your head.”
“Increase your resistance and push.”

After thirty minutes of spinning, my body was fully warmed up and humming. The instructor had us increase our resistance and do a series of jumps from a seated to standing position. Intense! Quads, hamstrings, core. Quads, hamstrings, core. I could feel my pulse in my temples. I blinked away sweat. I was exhausted.  And I felt powerful.

That sense of power, my friends, comes from endorphins! Here are three fun facts about endorphins:

1. Pain Suppression: Endorphins are these wonderful brain chemicals secreted by your pituitary gland when your body is under intense stress. These hormones suppress feelings of pain in the body, especially during strenuous physical activity. Endorphins act in your body the same way that morphine or other opiates do, without the dangers of addiction! [1]

2. Feelings of Euphoria: When you pituitary gland is pumping endorphins into your body, you may actually feel a strange sense of euphoria! A lot of runners experience this as “runner’s high”, where you feel stronger and more powerful despite being physically pushed near your limit. [2]

3. Elevation in  Mood: Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that when released in your body, uplifts your mood. (Most anti-depressant drugs contain chemicals that alter serotonin levels.) Well it turns out that studies suggest increased levels of endorphins are tied to increased serotonin levels as well! [3]

I left spin class feeling like I could take on the world! Here’s to the wonders of the body and to endorphins, my new best friend! Happy Monday! -CFC

*** Have you ever experienced “runner’s high” or a big endorphin-rush during exercise? ***

CFC Fitness Tip: What three things happen when your diet is successful?

Image credit: sumners / 123RF Stock Photo

About ChicFitChef

My "deserted island" checklist: a BCBG dress, a healthy & diabetic-friendly meal and a few workout DVDs. ;-)
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5 Responses to 3 Fun Facts about Endorphins: The Ultimate Natural Anti-Depressant

  1. CNK says:

    Yup — I love endorphins, and runner’s high is one of my BFFs. Thanks for the reminding me that–despite feeling like utter doom today–I really should force myself to hit up my power yoga class tonight. I clearly need it!

  2. Pingback: 3 Ways To Get out of a Fitness Rut (Thank You Color Run!) | ChicFitChef

  3. Rosemarie says:

    When I had my first spinning class, I thought I couldn’t make it past the first ten minutes I was in so much pain, then after a while something just exploded inside. I thought it couldn’t have been my internal organs giving out because it felt so GOOD! It must have been endorphins kicking in. I never could be a runner to experience the “runner’s high” I’ve always heard about. I’m glad that I am finally experiencing it through this exercise. Thanks for helping me understand more about it.

  4. Pingback: Endorphins | jzbroscom

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