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Why Strenuous Running Releases Endorphins

Fitday Editor

Endorphins are hormones that are released by the pituitary gland that have motivational benefits. Many long-distance runners experience frequent rushes of endorphin release.

Benefits of Running

Most people who run want to become fit and maintain a healthy weight. A combination of diet and exercise has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight. Running is a cardiovascular exercise that allows you to burn an average of 100 calories per mile. The number of calories burned varies depending on how fast and long you run.

Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, strengthen the heart. In fact, a person who does not run daily has a heart that beats approximately 36,000 times more than the average runner. The reason is because running keeps the arteries open and blood flowing more easily. They expand and contract more often, increasing their elasticity. The result is lower blood pressure and the heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood. Running is also beneficial for the lungs. The exercise makes runners take deeper breaths, which increases lung capacity over time.

Running also has psychological benefits. The endorphins that are released during running help to treat depression and other psychological disorders. Running helps people feel less fatigued, depressed, and tense throughout the day.


Many cardiovascular exercises, like running, swimming, and cycling, stimulate the release of endorphins: hormones that block pain and enable you to experience euphoric feelings. Endorphins are closely linked to addictions and were discovered by scientists who carried out research on drug addictions. The findings showed that the brain contains its own chemicals that are more potent than most drugs, such as opium and morphine. Endorphins are released during strenuous exercises. The chemicals make runners feel energized both during and after the exercise. This feeling is often referred to as a "runner's high" and helps to motivate runners. The amount of endorphins released depends on the physical fitness of a runner. Daily runners will maximize the potential benefits of endorphins.

Running elevates the levels of endorphins more than other cardiovascular exercises, like swimming and cycling. Additionally, the Department of Health and Sport Science at the University of Richmond attempted to determine if weight lifting heightened the level of endorphins in the body. The experiment concluded that the levels remained unchanged both during and after weight-lifting exercises. Other sport activities that require great cardio fitness levels, such as long-distance rowing, football, basketball, and soccer, produce high levels of endorphins.

Exercises are not the only activities that trigger the production of endorphins. Clinical researchers reported that acupuncture also effectively raises endorphin levels. Acupuncture needles that were inserted into specific body points helped to release endorphins in spinal fluid. The patients experienced relaxation and the pain-blocking effects of the chemical.

The most difficult part of exercising is getting into a routine. Remember that the effect of endorphins increases with routine and better physical fitness. Once you start running every day, the quality of your health and life can dramatically increase.

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