You know that feeling you get when you have just completed a tough workout? Or that warm cosy feeling after you treat yourself to some of your favourite chocolate? Or even that glorious post-coital bliss? These are all examples of the effect that an endorphin release has on the body.

Endorphins are hormones which have four key effects on body and mind: they enhance the immune system, relieve pain, reduce stress, and they postpone the ageing process.

Endorphins vary in strength, from just 18 to 500 times as powerful as any man-made analgesic. And because they are naturally produced by the body, endorphins are possibly the best (and most legal way) to achieve a natural high.

They are one reason why soldiers wounded in battle can continue to fight or have the strength to save someone else; it also accounts for the so called runner’s high, or why some people are drawn to dangerous activities like car racing, skydiving and bungee-jumping.

Not every experience or feeling is the same for every person. Once the body’s nervous system triggers an endorphin release it does depend on the level of activity one is partaking in and the body’s need for it. As an example, one runner may have an endorphin rush (experienced as a second wind) after running for 10 minutes, while another may need to run for 30 minutes before feeling a second wind.

Whether you work out for two minutes or two hours a day, you will experience the feelgood rush from an endorphin release to some degree. It doesn’t matter if you’re a yogi, gym bunny or a muscle Mary. Once you feel that natural high, you’ll want to feel more of it, more often. So what are you waiting for?

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