This is not ground breaking news: exercise enhances your mood. We all know it…we may resist it, but we know it, deep down.
Someone you know, maybe you love them (maybe you’re wondering if you do or not when they’re nagging you to get outside) but they will be advocating the life affirming qualities of running (or crossfit, or climbing, or rowing)…you get the picture.
You resist because exercise is hard work. Starting anything new is hard. Even if you’re a seasoned hiker, that first uphill climb after a break from walking is seriously hard work. Your heart is pounding, your muscles ache, you start to feel a niggling pain in one of your joints (for me it’s my right knee) and added to that the hill just seems to go on and on and on… Yes I am talking about myself here. See that hill? It's not a big hill, but let me tell you, it felt pretty big yesterday.
But what happens when you get to a view point? Or when you stop for a breather and look around? The combination of nature around you, pride in yourself for getting out and doing it, enhanced levels of endorphins flowing through the body – you feel... happy. Wait a minute! I was miserable three seconds ago. I was huffing and puffing, the wind was blowing me sideways, mud sucking my feet backwards (I'm exaggerating) and I'm pretty sure I felt a drop of rain (I didn't). What the hell is going on? Why do I feel great now? And what the heck are endorphins?
Yes, what exactly are endorphins? In simple terms, endorphins are hormones released by the brain and circulated throughout the body. They enhance feelings of pleasure and suppress pain and discomfort. This means they help us to continue to function in spite of pain, injury, stress or discomfort. And get you to the top of that hill with a smile on your face, in spite of yourself.