We often hear that exercise and a healthy, active lifestyle are good for us. But, do we really know the science behind why that is? This week we explore how our body works to make working out work for us!
Exercise helps our body release “happy hormones,” or endorphins. Healthline.com puts it simply, “endorphins act on the opiate receptors in our brains, they reduce pain and boost pleasure, resulting in a feeling of well-being. Endorphins are released in response to pain or stress, but they’re also released during other activities, like eating, exercise, or sex.”
When your heart rate increases, your cardiovascular system works harder. This signals to our brain that our body is under some type of stress, and so, endorphins are released to help ease any perceived pain and move along. Researchers note that endorphins are released in various experiences from childbirth to drug addiction and coincide with any instance of physical or emotional turmoil.
These happy hormones give our body and mind the resilience it needs to make it through any rough and tough experience and continue on in daily life. An additional benefit is the “feel-good” component these hormones give us, allowing for an opportunity to de-stress, relax and reset. Working out, among other activities, gives us a break to refuel and move forward in our day.
As we approach the heart of winter – and almost a year into a lifestyle of social distancing – there’s no better time than now to get your heart rate up and those endorphins flowing to help release these happy hormones.
Here are some creative ways to put these happy generating hormones to work:
- Get outside for a walk
- Try a class on Recess
- Skip a step
- Give circuit training a go
- Work up any kind of sweat
- Slow down
Either by yourself, with a friend, or with the family. Taking a stroll around the neighborhood is an easy way to get your body moving and your heart rate up. The fresh air is a plus!
Recess has hundreds of classes to choose from. Whether you choose a high-intensity workout or a recovery stretch session, your body and mind will benefit from it.
Not leaving your house much these days? Turn your house into an obstacle course. The next time you’re climbing the staircase, skip every other step. Adding a little challenge into every day activity is a great way to increase your heart rate in spurts throughout the day.
Circuit training is a great way to get your body moving and keep you focused. Circuits consist of multiple repetitions of different movements so you don’t have to worry about getting bored while working out.
It doesn’t have to be traditional exercise. Cleaning the house, eating spicy foods, or engaging in some ahem…canoodling with a loved one this Valentine’s day.
It might feel contradictory, but slowing down to focus on your breathing helps release endorphins too. After working up a sweat, take a moment to just sit, focus on your breath, and feel the flow of happy hormones.
Do you have a creative way to get moving throughout the day? Share it with us @we_recess and #itsplaytime so we can all benefit from the science of endorphins and get those feel good hormones flowing!