Free Happy High?

I’ve noticed, as of late, that my blogs generally revolve around positivity. Maybe I should re-name the blog: ‘Notes from the Positive Sphere of Living’. I think this is largely due to the fact that they are often written in response to, or shortly following, a good bit of exercise. This leads me to the conclusion that adrenaline, endorphins, and all those other lovely post-exercise rewards might have a lot to do with it:

When you cycle, swim, run, or carry out any other form of strenuous endurance exercise,..the brain produces its own set of neurochemicals which are actually far more potent than morphine, opium, and heroin but share the same neural receptors with these drugs…
Pasted from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0430.htm

Endorphins aren’t the only accompaniment to a raised heart rate and achey muscles, though. A recent experiment looked at the release of Phenylethylamine (PEA) – a chemical found also in chocolate, that is said to raise a person’s mood. The study measured the levels of the chemical in the blood of young men before and after exercise, and found it to be around 77% higher afterwards. I wonder if the heavily publicised ‘happy hormones’ in chocolate give such a dramatic increase?!

Are the fitness freaks, the rampant runners and bike bonkers members of the population just glorified drug addicts? Do we constantly seek this magical, self produced drug?

The problem with a drug induced buzz, is it tends to wear off pretty quickly, and leave the drug-taker slumped, paranoid, irritable or plain messy. That and drugs generally have an adverse relationship to health. Exercise, however, leaves no such nasty hangovers:

The research to find the processes behind this phenomenon have all shown the immediate chemical levels of people after exercise. However, the lasting ability of these effects are largely important to depression treatment and an overall healthy happy lifestyle. http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro05/web2/mmcgovern.html

Immediate chemical releases are great, but there are so many more benefits to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is known to cheer people up for a million reasons, including boosted self esteem and improved self-image, confidence and feelings of accomplishment, and simply taking time out of the day for yourself.

Exercise is a (relatively) free form of happy-pill, which will transform your body, cleanse your mind, not to mention povide a new avenue for broadening your social circle.
Count me in.

Sunday – 1hr cycle, 3x2min, 3x90sec, 3×60 sec intervals, 15min pool run/swim

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