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
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How Do I Use a Foam Roller?

Tips for Using a Foam Roller

  • Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release

  • Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.

  • Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.

  • Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.

  • Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.

  • If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.

  • Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.

  • Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.

  • Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.

  • Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.

  • Rest a day between sessions when you start.

  • Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.

  • After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.

  • Do not use a foam roller without your physician’s approval if you have any heart illness or chronic pain condition.

More About Techniques With the Foam Roller

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  • Find a tender spot on the area you are working and keep the roller on this spot. Wait for discomfort to diminish by 50-75%. This could take some time and be uncomfortable.

  • When this area is no longer sensitive then begin to see if there are other sensitive areas and repeat.

  • When this area is free of pain and can be rolled over, then continue rolling regularly to keep the area relaxed.

  • Use the roller as warm up prior to activity and also for warm down after exercise

  • There is some freedom for experimentation and “feel” when using the rollers. See what works best for you and manipulate the roller to the correct position.

Maintaining Your Foam Roller

Due to how foam rollers are manufactured, all foam products will have some surface imperfections. Imperfections such as surface bubbles, dimensional tolerance and differences in color are normal. These imperfections will not affect the performance of the foam roller and other foam products.

Normal use will cause indentations or pressure points. Pressure points may slowly re-cover, however, continuous pressure lasting several hours should be avoided. Do not store objects on top of foam items. Foam performs best if stored flat, away from sunlight and within temperature ranges between 75°F – 125°F.

 Cleaning:    

Use a mild soap and water mixture or Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol.  DO NOT use bleach solutions, oils or other chemicals as they can cause softening, discoloration and distortion of shape.

CK SPORTS carries all types of foam rollers; full, half size and even the new GRID.  Stop in and let us set you up with the best foam roller for your sport. 

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

 

To Our Grand Old Flag –

Saturday evening I went for a walk and while I was out I noticed our flag.  It was breezy so the flag was sticking out in the wind just enough to see the distinct stars lined up against the blue background, the red stripes and the white  stripes.  I took a picture…one day before the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

This morning on 9/11 I got up, put on my shoes and running clothes  and went for a run.  It was peaceful and quiet outside.   No headphones – just the sound of me breathing and my feet.  I looked up and saw the same  flag today at half mass.  Silently hugging the flag pole…no wind.  …and it made me think….

Ten years ago, I went for a run the day after 9/11.  It wasn’t peaceful.  It was the evening after the morning of the 9/11 tragedy.   The sun was still out but everything was dead quiet.  Few people were outside.  No planes were in the sky.  Some houses had flags outside.  Some did not.  It was a eerie day.  A very sad day.  A day full of questions and uncertainity. It was a day that made me think of my family, my friends and made me call them. 

Throughout this past week,  the news has been commenerating the ten year anniversary of 9/11.  The children of the fallen have spoken this week.   A look back on that day has been played and replayed.  It makes me sad.  It makes me think of those who lost their husband, wife, Mom, Dad, daughter, son, sister , or brother.   9/11 is historic beyond imaginable….In a day of cameras and technology the pictures of the actual attack, the destruction, the grief and the aftermath year after year will be with us forever; in every form of media.  Interviews, film, pictures, etc.  It won’t every be buried in a history book on the 11th chapter.  It will always be vivid and part of America.  So yes it makes me sad. 

But what I also realized when looking at our flag is that it  never fades.  It will always be bold.  It will always be blue, the stars will always be precise.  The stripes exact.  The United States Flag resembles so much for all of us.  It’s where people want to come that don’t live in the United States.  The land of freedom, opportunity and growth.  America the Beautiful.

That flag might have made me sad thinking about 9/11 but it also made me grateful because it speaks to each of us every day when we wake up in the morning able to get out of bed and go for a run, pick our jobs, choose our careers, build our businesses, raise our families,  pick our schools, voice our opinions, and so much more…  So today, I thank all of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice that has made this country what it is.   A country different than all others just like our flag. 

 And when looking at our flag always remember  the firefighters, the soldiers, and all others who serve and protect us allowing us to live in such a great country.   No one will ever forget the flag  held proudly at ground zero on the day of the attack.   So I move forward quietly tonight never forgetting but also always remembering our Flag….and our Country.   And I pray for each of the families that  lost loved ones on 9/11 and hope they see how America (each of us) will never forget.

Are you injured? Now what to do?

CK SPORTS, Inc. located in McKinney Texas is always asked about injuries and what to do, well, statistics show that during any given year 2/3 of all runners will have to take at least one week off from running due to some variation of injury. While all of us don’t want to be a statistic and fall into this dreaded category its actually what you do once your  injured that can decide how fast you will be back or how much extra damage you will do to yourself.

First ask yourself how you got to this injury so that you can prevent the same injury from happening in the future. I have described ways people get injured in previous articles but most runners fall into one of the following categories: Errors in training such as too much speed work, increasing mileage too quickly, not enough rest in-between physiologically demanding sessions or running on the wrong terrain, runners who wear inappropriate shoes which is an easy fix by visiting CK Sports and lastly runners whose biomechanics are off due to pelvic misalignments and muscle imbalances.

While someone who is injured should always seek medical advice first there are some easy questions to ask yourself in order to figure out if you should stop running: Does your pain alter your natural gait pattern? Is the area in question red or swollen? Is there weakness associated with the injury? Is there an injury to your back? Answering yes to any of these deserves time off until healed from the injury of further evaluation.

If you end up injured to the point of not being able to run there are numerous activities that you can engage in so that your fitness/aerobics levels do not drop too much. The pool is sometimes the first place to start as both swimming and aqua jogging are great at stressing the cardiovascular system without placing a great load into the body as dry land running does. Cycling is another activity that is low impact but at the same time delivers that cardiovascular stress needed along with strengthening the legs. If on the other hand you can run make sure that your getting regular massage therapy, reducing the number of miles you run in a given week until healthy again, that your running on softer surfaces and most of all listening to your body as your body will be the first to tell you if an injury is about to happen.

Dr. Jake Oergel

say’s focusing on sports injuries and biomechanical corrections. Dr. Oergel is Full-Body Certified in Active Release Technique and is an experienced kinesiotaping practitioner. Dr. Oergel is also an accomplished Ironman triathlete who has competed in over 75 endurance events.

 CK SPORTS, Inc. is a full service Dallas area based triathlon store that focuses on swimming, running, and cycling.  Check out our website for information including an online store.

 

How Compressed are You??

Cold Winters or Hot Summers, CK SPORTS, a full service triathlon store located in the north Dallas area, is always getting questions on compression. So, what’s the big deal? Is compression what it is cracked up to be? Does compression really help athletic performance and improve recovery? Should I wear it before I exercise, while I am exercising or after I exercise?

First, yes, compression works. Today, you see your novice athlete to elite athletes wearing the compression tights, arm sleeves, socks and more. “The average Joe now says ‘Hey I’m working out and I’m spending my time, if I can feel a little bit better, why wouldn’t I?'” said Gregg Hemphill, VP of Marketing for SKINSAmerica. “This will help them get through that initial soreness stage as they’re trying to get themselves back into shape. They’re going to be a little less sore and feel a little fresher the next day and want to get back in the gym,” said Hemphill. Compression gear is designed to increase blood flow, which flushes out lactic acid and gets more oxygen and nutrients back to muscles.

The end result is speedy recovery time. “We call it ‘Venus return:’ increasing the blood flow back to the heart so you can get fresh clean oxygen in the blood back to those muscles faster, keep those muscles firing and performing much more efficiently than they normally would,” said Johnny West, sales director for 2XU’s compression line. Also, muscles normally vibrate during exercise, but compression wear keeps them contained which helps in turn to reduce injury. “Our muscles in general are designed to fire up and down. As soon as we start doing any sort of activity, they’ll start sliding side to side, so now that muscle is much less efficient,” said West.

CK SPORTS is a triathlon store that can help you with compression gear. We carry various brands including 2XU, SKINS, CEP, ZOOT and Vital Socks. Stop by and let us help you with your questions.

Come out and see us at CK SPORTS today at our tri store located at8880 State Highway121,McKinney,Texas75070. Located at the corner ofCuster Roadand 121 in the Target shopping center.

Phone: 214-383-0088

Website: http://www.cksports.com