Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Endorphin Release and Exercise Intensity

October 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

You may be familiar with a thrill of elation after working out called a “runner’s high”. This comes from your brain and muscles working together after a good workout. This rush of endorphins may come and flood your senses with different degrees of pleasure, making you feel good.

Research has found that doing high-intensity exercise can simulate the feelings you get when you have pride in a job well done, eat hot peppers, and even watch your children learn new things. These experiences can create a strong response in your brain that can impact your entire body.

High-intensity interval training includes any workout that switches between short bursts of activity and slower, fixed periods of less-intense movement or rest. One popular high-intensity interval training exercise is running as fast as you can for 1 minute and then slowing down to walk for 2 minutes. Repeat this sequence five times to effectively burn fat. Endorphins have been referred to as your body’s natural opiate, and they even work to block pain receptors.

Endorphins Depend on Exercise Intensity

Endorphins are neurochemicals that are produced in your brain that act as natural painkillers similar to morphine. They activate opioid receptors to help minimize any pain. Endorphins are peptides that help reduce the perception of pain and trigger euphoric feelings.

Endorphins released during exercise have a positive impact on you physically, mentally, and physiologically. However, new research shows that the intensity of your workout controls your mood elevation and stress reduction.

Studies have been done on the opioid receptors on healthy, active males between the ages of 21 and 36, using positron emission tomography during intense physical exercise. The males’ endorphin release was repeatedly measured over three days in three different ways:

1) After an hour of aerobic moderate-intensity exercise
2) After a HIIT session
3) After resting

The participants’ moods were also measured after their exercise sessions. Professionals have said that if adults are looking to either improve or maintain their physical health, it is important to either engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity each week or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio activity in a week.

Moderate vs Intense Exercise and Endorphins

The results of exercise go well beyond the physical and extend to mood and may even lessen anxiety and depression. However, professionals have not always known if there is a link between endorphin concentrations and one’s mood.In the study of 22 male subjects, in measuring their moods and endorphins, the researchers found that high-intensity interval training led to a rise in the release of endorphins. The team also found that HIIT led to negative feelings in the men, which is also correlated to an increase in endorphin release.

While high exercise intensities release endorphins associated with increased negative feelings, endorphin release may be required to counteract the emotional and physical challenges that exercise produces. However, the negative feelings surrounding HIIT may discourage doing more exercise.

How High-Intensity Exercise Can Help You

The study concluded that the endorphin release caused by exercise may be an important factor in keeping people motivated to continue to exercise and keep a regular routine.
Also, having the knowledge that you may experience a level of euphoria may even be something that drives people who don’t want to exercise to the gym.

When it comes to the benefits of HIIT, consider this: doing only One minute of intense activity within a 10-minute exercise session could be equally as effective as exercising for 45 minutes at only a moderate pace. That means that having 12 minutes of intense exercise will get you more results than several hours of medium-intensity exercise. This will also positively affect your overall health.

HIIT also helps to improve glucose tolerance more than other forms of exercise, can burn up to 15% more calories, triggers the production of HGH, and produces immediate changes in your DNA that could possibly help you live longer. It can also benefit people who have survived colorectal cancer because people do not realize the harmful effects of neglecting exercise.

The truth is, without exercise, one may lower their survival rate if they have received anticancer therapy. Studies have revealed that cancer survivors who engaged in HIIT or any moderate exercise were able to experience improved peak oxygen consumption.

Even if you choose to do an exercise besides HIIT, it will have benefits on your health. This is beneficial when it comes to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It also helps to improve your skin, slow down the aging process, aid in disease recovery, and shrink fat cells.

Exercise helps lower your chances of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in addition to lowering your blood pressure and even preventing depression. Positive changes will be made to your brain to improve your memory and thinking skills while also reducing brain fog.

With these advantages and the benefit of getting happier from the release of endorphins, exercise is an obvious priority to keep in your routine.

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Frank Salvatore