You know that feeling you get when you have just completed a tough workout? Or that warm cosy feeling after you treat yourself to some of your favourite chocolate? Or even that glorious post-coital bliss? Well, that elated feeling has a scientific explanation, it comes from the release of endorphins
Drugs such as morphine, heroine and cocaine are classic endorphins-releasing entities. But luckily for us, there are less addictive ways of experiencing such sweet rhapsody.
Dr Rahmatullah, a doctor based in Hyderabad opines, “Endorphins are endogenous, pain-reducing proteins. They are released when the body goes through stress. Which is why, they are best produced when one gets ample physical exercise.” Endorphins are hormones, which have four key effects on body and mind: They enhance the immune system, relieve pain, reduce stress, and they postpone the ageing process. They vary in strength, from just 18 to 500 times as powerful as any man-made analgesic.
And because they are naturally produced by the body, endorphins are possibly the best (and most legal way) to achieve a natural high.
This is one reason why soldiers wounded in battle can continue to fight or have the strength to save someone else; it also accounts for the so called runner’s high, or why some people are drawn to dangerous activities like car racing, skydiving and bungee-jumping.
Dr Kamal Khurana, a psychotherapist and counsellor based in New Delhi, explains, “Endorphins are secreted in the brain. Proper eating habits, exercise, and management of life aids in its release.”
Not every experience or feeling is the same for every person. Once the body’s nervous system triggers an endorphins release, it does depend on the level of activity one is partaking in and the body’s need for it. As an example, one runner may have endorphins rush (experienced as a second wind) after running for 10 minutes, while another may need to run for 30 minutes before feeling a second wind.
Whether you workout for two minutes or two hours a day, you will experience the feel-good rush from endorphins release to some degree. It doesn’t matter if you’re a yogi, a gym bunny or a muscle Mary. Once you feel that natural high, you’ll want to feel more of it, more often. So what are you waiting for?
According to Dr Nanda Kishore, CEO of Livelife Hospitals, “Naturally occurring endorphins are a reward of physical action. These compounds are secreted mainly with exercise. Initially when one starts to workout, the muscles ache, but after the fourth day or so, they stop to hurt. This is because endorphins are being generated in the body.”
Category: Body & Soul