Endorphins Make Me Feel Good…

So what is an endorphin?  How do you explain or describe it?  

Well, Wikipedia’s definition is:

I will have a bowl of endorphins please

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being

ummmm…..what???  They are endogenous opioid peptides?   Okay then.  Lets start with an easy statement about endorphins.  They are supposed to make a person feel good – that simple.   Some people say it’s in our heads while others have done research and say it is a chemical released in our body that makes us happy, content, settled.  The articles side all over the place – they are not real, they are very real, research has proven, research has not “scientifically” proven…..so read on and you make your own decision.

For runner’s and/or endurance athletes they often are heard describing it as a “runner’s high”.  You know, that good feeling you get after a long run, a roll in the hay or a good laugh?  It’s not just because you’ve relieved exercise guilt, had a wham-bam orgasm or heard an absolute knee-slapper.  That elated feeling, which can last up to 12 hours for some people,also  has a scientific explanation.  It comes from a release of endorphins.   And it’s an “all natural” way of getting high.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.     This  feeling,  is often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.   

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters referenced in the Wikipedia definition outlined in this article earlier.  The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines.  However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, family practitioner and author of  “Eat for Health” and “Eat to Live” notes that the science of endorphins-from-exercise is controversial, and that some medical professionals believe the positive feeling you get when you meet a physical challenge, rather than the exertion itself, is what stimulates the endorphin release. Several articles that were researched indicated that endorphins are indeed real and provide benefits to us that include:

Relief of pain
Enhanced immune system
Reduced stress levels
Postpone aging process
Modulated appetite
Lowers blood pressure
Influences calm or euphoric state of mind

 But whatever the cause and benefit, exercise has been proven to enhance the mood.  So lets not speculate any longer.  Get outside, find your sport and start feeling good……endorphin or no endorphin.  In Dr. Fuhrman also recommends prolonged activities such as cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis or a long cardio workout for the best effects. So try to catch an endorphin  see what cha think!  

References;

Endorphins 101: Your Guide to Natural Euphoria
Dr Joel Fuhrman; MD Family practitioner and author

What is Active Therapy?

by Tim Hines-
Elite Performance Chiropractic located in McKinney, Tx.

ART is a patented, soft-tissue mobilization technique preferred by many of today’s top athletes. The goal of ART is similar to sports massage, in that it aims to remove scar tissue from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Chronic and repetitive injury causes scar tissue to form in the body. Over time this scar tissue becomes adhesion that limits function and can became very painful — even leading to more injury.

Active Release is a very focused approach to aiding the body in recovering from the effects of these chronic injuries. Most often practiced by chiropractors, some have likened ART to a chiropractor’s approach to sports massage. While the end goals may be similar, the techniques are quite different. Swedish massage treats the body with a broad, full-body approach. Sports and therapeutic massage are more focused approaches, treating problem areas. ART is even more focused. Certified practitioners of ART are trained to find the source of the problem, go right to it and treat it directly.

How does it work? A simple way to describe it would be a pin-and-stretch. The ART practitioner finds the adhesion that is limiting the function of the muscle, joint, etc. Pressure is applied to the problem spot, and the muscle, or ligament, or tendon, is stretched while pressure is increased. The effect breaks up the adhesion and frees the surrounding soft-tissue. As a massage therapist who is certified in ART, I look at it as another tool in the tool-box of therapies.

Sometimes, all it takes is a screw-driver to fix something — other times, you might need a hammer — often, both a hammer, screw-driver, and even a wrench are needed. ART is great because it can treat injuries quickly, and creates a faster recovery. It can be a crucial part of your overall care. I find that combining ART with chiropractic adjustments and massage, along with proper conditioning and important things like the right fit of shoes, or a properly balanced bike, all work in conjunction to help you perform at a top level.

Water…be happy the natural way

Most people experience mild dehydration, or the state in  which your body contains too little fluid, on occasion. Although severe  dehydration is less common, it can become life threatening, according to the  University of Maryland Medical Center. In  addition to physical symptoms, such as dry mouth and sunken eyes, dehydration  can negatively affect your moods. Drinking enough water each day can help  guard against these mood complications.

Relationship

Although drinking water is not known to directly cause  positive moods, even mild levels of dehydration can hinder your emotional state,  according to Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin. If you  consistently are dehydrated and prone to low moods, such as sadness or anxiety,  increasing your water intake might help minimize your mood problems. If your  mood challenges derive from an illness, such as major depression, an anxiety  disorder or hypothyroidism, drinking more water might help prevent the worsening  of your symptoms; seeking proper treatment for the underlying condition,  however, is important.

Research

In a study published in the “Journal of  Psychophysiology” in 2000, eight healthy, endurance-trained men were kept under-  or over-hydrated while exercising on a treadmill for 90 minutes. Researchers  then analyzed the mens’ memory skills, levels of fatigue and moods and found  that dehydration impaired all of these functions. These findings indicate that  short-term, relatively mild dehydration can immediately detract from an active  person’s moods.

Dehydration Causes

If you have a condition associated with dehydration,  staying on top of your fluid needs might help manage your emotional and physical  symptoms. One of the most common triggers, according to the European Hydration  Institute, is an infection that causes diarrhea. When faced with infectious  diarrhea, you can lose a significant amount of water, or up to one liter per  hour, with each bowel movement. Vomiting, which might accompany food poisoning,  flu viruses and pregnancy, also can cause excessive fluid loss. Older adults and  children are more susceptible to dehydration because of their lower body  weights, higher turnover of water and bodily chemicals called electrolytes and  sensitivity to illnesses and infections. Sweat from vigorous exercise or  spending time in hot weather also can contribute.

Prevention/Solution

If you are prone to negative moods or mood swings,  discuss your symptoms with a qualified health care professional to determine  whether an illness is at play. Although people’s specific hydration needs vary,  doctors generally recommend drinking eight or nine cups per day, according to  MayoClinic.com. If you consume other hydrating foods and beverages, such as  fresh fruits and vegetables, soups, low-fat milk or herbal tea, you might not  require as much plain water. If you eat primarily low-fluid foods, such as  breads, potato chips and pretzels, you might require more. If you experience  thirst or your urine appears bright yellow, you might lack water. Keep water  nearby for convenience, particularly during and following exercise and heat  exposure. If water tastes “boring” to you, add a splash of fruit  juice.

information from lancearmstrong.com