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Have you ever noticed there’s always that person at work that comes in every morning skipping to their desk, was their first coffee really that great? How can they possibly be so happy at 7am on a Monday!? On the days when you are struggling to keep your eyes open, there’s always someone that can’t stop humming and tapping; is it time to check what they are actually drinking in their water!? Is there a way to make us all feel that content, comfortable and energized throughout the day; without a visit to the local pharmacy?

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Maybe you’ve over heard people talking about how exercise makes them feel “great”, or exercise gives them “energy”. Can this be true? Can anyone and everyone feel better just by exercising? To what extent can this be scientifically possible and is it a proven fact? In this post I am going to reveal to you the only way to get a natural, HALAAL (permissible) high, from your own body’s neural system.

The geeky bit: Endorphins (“endogenous morphine“) are endogenous opiod peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, love, pain and the consumption of spicy food.

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But what does that actually mean? Endo- (endogenous) -orpins (morphine) is a term that literally means “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body.” Are you starting to see where the idea of a natural high is coming from?

An “endorphin rush” commonly refers to the feeling of exhilaration, caused by a variety of factors. An times of excitement or love, these endorphins are adopted into popular speech with the word “butterflies”. During times of fear or pain, a nerve impulse can cause the release of endorphins that prevent further nerve cells from sending more pain signals.

So, how does this relate to exercise and feeling good throughout the day? When a person exercises, there is a barrier your body will hit, where you will need to push yourself to find the ability to continue. This threshold is the door to endorphin release; it’s the difference between exercising and a high intensity work out. If you want to feel the positive results of your exercise, this is the line to cross. You’ll know you’ve found yourself participating in a high intensity work out when your breathing becomes more difficult, you can feel your body temperature and heart rate raised, and you are starting to sweat. Endorphins are produced for situations such as these, to help you through the pain and strain your body is now under. You are now experiencing an “athletes high”; the reason the gym becomes an addiction, and the answer to your colleagues constant happiness.

Through strenuous exercise a few times a week, you will find endorphins help with mood, improve energy levels, aid relaxation and lower stress levels. Exercise will also tire your body to make sure you get a good night’s sleep (as long as you are not exercising before bed time, therefore triggering endorphins just as you are trying to crawl into bed). For the best results from high intensity work outs, make sure you have rest days, plenty of sleep and the right nutrition to work alongside your programme.

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Salaams 🙂

Safiyah Esack – 16/03/2013

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