We Get A Feeling Of Euphoria And Wellbeing After Physical Exercise
Whenever we do physical exercise like running or briskly walking, cycling, swimming, or a gym workout, we get a feeling of well-being – sometimes even one of euphoria. We feel good and experience an elevated mood. Pain may even decrease after exhaustive exercise. The reason is the secretion of certain biochemical, endorphins, in our nervous system. Endorphins have profound effects on our mind and body. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes sometimes experience with prolonged exercise. That’s the reason doctors recommend aerobic and other physical exercises to patients suffering from depression. These are potent long-term antidepressants. Self-esteem, which becomes very low in such patients, also improves. These chemicals are also said to enhance our immune response.
Endorphins are produced by the central nervous system, which consists of a complex of nerve tissues in the brain and spinal cord. The two parts of the word endorphin — endo- and -orphin — are derived from the words endogenous and morphine, meaning, “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body.” The principal function of endorphins is to act as analgesia, inhibiting the transmission of pain signals to higher
brain centres; they also induce a feeling of euphoria very similar to that produced by morphine-like drugs. These chemicals are produced in the brain in response to a variety of stimuli. Stress and pain are the two
most common triggers for release of endorphins.
We quite often feel sleepy after strong physical exercise like running or swimming. This feeling of sleepiness is again due to endorphins. They act as sedatives. Yogic breathing exercises like pranayama may have similar
effects on us due to endorphin secretion. Likewise, certain foods like chocolate and chilli peppers are supposed to trigger the feeling of euphoria. Again, this is because of these chemicals secreted by our brain.
Though these endorphins can be released by many means, physical exercise is the best. Eating chocolate, chillies, and spicy food, as well as laughing and having sex, are other natural ways to optimize secretion of endorphins. Depression and other mental problems often respond well to these natural therapies.
Depression and anxiety are among the most common mental illnesses all over the world. In many nations, they are reaching epidemic levels. Over 300 million people are estimated to suffer from depression, equivalent to 4.4% of the world’s population. Although depression can and does affect people of all ages,
from all walks of life, the risk of becoming depressed increases with poverty, unemployment, and life events such as the death of a loved one, a relationship breakup, physical illness, and problems caused by alcohol
and drug use. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Nearly eight hundred thousand people die from suicide every year. It is the second-leading cause of death in the age group of 15 to 29. An additional 284
million people worldwide suffered from an anxiety disorder in 2017.
Numerous studies have established that symptoms of depression and anxiety often improve with exercise
and other physical activities. Research shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also include improved mood. Regular exercise helps to alleviate the symptoms of virtually any mental
disorder. Again, this is attributable to the release of endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals. Physical exercise may be safely used along with other treatments, such as medications and therapy, and may also be used
alone. One study has established that yoga and meditation can increase one’s level of endorphins.
People with depression and anxiety disorders often feel significant improvement through combining medication with the alternate ways of yoga, meditation, and physical exercises. When we exercise regularly,
we tend to do so because it gives us an enormous boost. We feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep more soundly at night, and feel more relaxed and positive about ourselves. We can summarise by saying that
endorphins are a powerful producer of happy feelings. The best thing is that this biochemical can be produced within our own body.
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