It is so common these days to hear about how exercise can improve your mood because of the release of endorphins. But, does anyone really stop to wonder - what the heck’s an endorphine? And how the heck does it work?! Read on, my friend.
Definition: any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. - Oxford Dictionary
In real people language, an endorphin is a chemical that is released into your bloodstream (in various conditions) that creates a feeling of happiness in your brain. Endorphins are released into the bloodstream during long/continuous and moderate to vigorous physical activity (when you are out of breath). In order to ensure that you enjoy the benefits of endorphins, research says you should exercise at 70% Vo2Max for at least 15 minutes.
A rush of endorphins is commonly referred to as the Runner’s High in the running community. This phenomenon is well known in runners and is usually explained as a feeling of euphoria following a long/intense run. Because of endorphin’s euphoric properties, they tend to alleviate pain and the athlete’s level of perceived exertion - which can sometimes lead to them pushing past their previous running times and limits. i.e. A runner exercising at 90% Vo2Max sans endorphins will perceive to hurt/suffer more than one with a release of endorphins.
For a rush of endorphins, try this:
5 minute warm up
3 minutes running at high intensity - should be out of breath approx. 50 seconds in
3 minutes rest - easy jog
repeat 5 times
10 minute cool down