The feeling you get after a great workout is a unique mix of euphoria and Zen that's simultaneously motivating and relaxing. It puts you in a great mood, makes you proud of the session you just aced and gets you psyched to tackle the next one.
Scientists have found that the blissful feeling is not just about endorphins, the pain-killing hormones proven to bring on pleasure. Recent studies show that other compounds contribute to the buzz. One compound, endocannabinoids are lipid molecules that help regulate pain and mood. Your brain processes this molecule in almost the same way that it does cannabinoids, the chemicals that cause the marijuana high.
While our levels of endorphins and endocannabinoids are higher after endurance exercise, endocannanoids have a more powerful effect on how we feel. This compound is believed to produce the stress-busting effects of exercise. Endorphins have been shown to contribute to some of the other aspects of the exercise high.
The study found that the body releases endocannnoids only when you push your intensity level into the moderate zone. Cardio is what counts: anaerobic exercise like weight lifting doesn't activate the endocannanoid system. The sweet spot is 70 - 85% of your maximum heart rate. Using the RPE, aim for 5 or 6 on a scale of 10. If you can barely speak, you are pushing too hard. Ease off a little.
Exercise with others. Social bonding activates the same endocannanoid system that exercise does. So you're scoring even stronger perks when you workout with friends. Group workouts or classes will reap the same benefits.
This week choose the ultimate post-exercise buzz.
Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food