How does exercise release endorphins

When your body comes under stress or pain, neurochemicals called endorphins are produced in the brain’s hypothalamus. How does exercise release endorphins?

Endorphins are natural painkillers because they activate opioid receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort. They can also help create feelings of euphoria and general well-being.

Chasing the Runner’s High

The idea that exercise creates an endorphin rush came into popular culture just after endorphins were discovered 40 years ago. Long-distance running was popular in the mid-1970s at about the same time as endorphins were found. Anecdotally, there were many reports of the so-called ‘runner’s high.’ By suppressing the experience of pain, several researchers promoted the idea that endorphins may be the source of this euphoric feeling after exercise.

What’s really going on?

So if you’re not an endorphin junkie, what are you? Well, you could be a serotonin or norepinephrine junkie. When you exercise, the brain increases the production of these neurotransmitters, which send messages through your nervous system. When it comes to training, these messages can be like: “You run! This is great!

Exercise can help stave off depression and anxiety by improving the body’s ability to respond to stressors. And it is not just that exercise leads to an increase in serotonin and norepinephrine, which can reduce depression and stress. Low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine linked to depression is a much more solid link to feelings of euphoria after exercise than evidence of endorphins.

While the science of why you feel a rush after training can be complicated, it does not mean that the runner’s high is not a very real feeling. And do not worry, we will not judge you if you still wear your “endorphin junkie” t-shirt at the gym.

Related articles:

What hormones does exercise release?

Why does exercise make me tired?

References

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