Exercise and Happiness

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English 1010
2 March 2014
Exercise: The Natural High
As human beings we’ve all been stressed out and have attempted to relieve our stress and anxiety in many different ways: eating, sitting in front of the TV for hours, using tobacco, alcohol and or drugs. All of these attempt to take your mind off your worries and it sometimes works. But many of these go to stress relievers like overeating on junk food or having another glass of wine can have negative consequences if done in excess. There is another alternative for reducing stress and boosting your mood that makes people happier and has positive long-term effects: Exercise.

You know that feeling you get after a long run or a sweat drenching workout? That feeling is what experts call a “runners high”. This powerful feeling is the body’s release of the feel good chemical: Endorphins. This natural high can be followed by an enlivening and positive outlook on life. Whatever kind of happiness it is, a lot of people agree that working up a sweat changes their mood and it feels good. First of all what are Endorphins? “Endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid peptides that function as inhibitory neurotransmitters and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being”.1 Ok I hope I’m not the only one who didn’t understand a word of that, so for myself I’m going to translate it into real people words. Endorphins reduce the sensitivity of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are man-made in your brain, spinal cord, and lots of other parts of your body and are released in reaction to your brains chemicals called neurotransmitters. Endorphins also cause a positive connection in activities such as running, hiking, swimming, horseback riding and any activity that gets your blood pumping. So now that we know what Endorphins are, what do they have to do with our happiness? For a long time we have been told about the benefits of exercise, how it can fight...
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