A Lesson in Endorphins: What are Endorphins, and What Do They Do
Any woman who exercises knows: a full-body workout makes you feel good. You get a boost of energy, a sense of accomplishment, and sometimes, a feeling of euphoria. These positive sensations are due, in part, to endorphins.
What are endorphins?
Endorphins are hormones your body releases in response to pain or stress. There are more than 20 different types of endorphins; beta-endorphins are the type released during a full-body workout. Beta-endorphins relieve pain and put you in a positive state of mind. The “runner’s high,” is a term for the endorphin release that occurs when runners reach a certain point in a long run.1
In addition to easing pain and making you feel good during and after exercise, endorphins have additional beneficial health effects. These include:
Easing depression and anxiety: Endorphins released during exercise can help control symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
Reducing stress. There’s an inverse relationship between endorphins and stress; the higher the levels of endorphins, the lower a person’s stress.
Aiding in weight loss. Another positive endorphins effect: They suppress appetite and help you lose weight.
Boosting self-esteem. Because they make you feel good, endorphins can increase your confidence and lead to better self-confidence.2
Reducing inflammation. As part of their pain-relieving effects, endorphins appear to lower the inflammation that fuels the pain response.
Sharpening memory. The positive effects endorphins have in the brain may extend to better memory and cognitive function overall.3
Just as endorphins are good for your health in these important ways, low levels of endorphins can put your health at risk. So, it’s important to make sure you’re doing what you can to give yourself a healthy dose of these hormones on a regular basis. One of the best ways to boost endorphins is to engage in the Curves circuit at Curves ladies’ gym.
What releases endorphins?
In addition to engaging in your full-body workout at Curves, there are several activities you can do to stimulate endorphins and get endorphin effects:
Meditate. The focus and deep breathing you do while meditating calms your mind and helps ease pain, in part due to endorphin release.
Laugh. A genuine hearty laugh stimulates endorphins, as well as increased levels of the feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
Have sex. The calm and serenity you feel after having sex comes from the release of several hormones, including endorphins.
Get acupuncture. The ancient art of acupuncture, or placing long, fine needles into specific points on your body, stimulates endorphin release.
Expose yourself to ultraviolet light. In small doses, UV light via the sun or artificially is good for you and stimulates release of beta-endorphins in your skin. This is why people with seasonal effective disorder feel better after sitting in front of lamps that emit UV light.
Play music you like. Singing along, dancing, or drumming to a favorite piece of music triggers your body to release endorphins.4
If you’re experiencing a lack of endorphins, you may be at increased risk for a variety of health issues, including anxiety, depression and aches and pains. Fortunately, Curves can help. Our 30-minute full-body workout incorporates a mix of aerobic and strength training to help release endorphins and boost your mood while working toward achieving your health and fitness goals. Combine that with the lively, positive atmosphere at Curves where you work out alongside like-minded women, and you have the perfect activity to help induce a surge in endorphins, along with other ‘feel-good’ chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Find a Curves womens’ gym near you and start working toward achieving your wellness goals.