Exercise Endorphins Do Exist!

Exercise Endorphins Do Exist!

Alternative Healing

We all have heard the term endorphin. We know they are feel good chemicals that are also good for our health and well being! We have been told there is a Runner’s HIGH. But some of us have never experienced this phenomenon. In this show Candace shares a short story about how at the age of 62, she finally is convinced that Exercise Endorphins actually are real. There are other lessons learned in the process. Perhaps this little tale will inspire you to keep striving for increased wellness, and well-being, all while encouraging a visit from the sometimes elusive endorphin.



The Elusive Endorphin

Endorphins are a natural human form of energy we can access for healing. You cannot always order them up like an afternoon latte but if you are consistent in approach and the conditions are right and you don’t allow stray thoughts to deflate the potential for access, they just might come to visit!

We all have heard of endorphins, but just for fun I am going to start my little story with a definition.

Endorphins are natural chemicals produced by the body that help reduce the perception of pain and can boost your mood.  They are primarily produced and released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, both of which are specialized regions in the brain. As neurotransmitters, endorphins bind to opiate receptors, which help block pain and increase feelings of pleasure. That may seem as if they only have momentary positive effects but endorphins However, endorphins can also act as peptide hormones, in which they are released by the pituitary gland and then enter circulation, where they have long-ranging systemic effects. Basically bringing in the endorphins is an excellent idea both for short term and long term health and well-being!

And who wouldn’t want more of either of those things? Breaking up one’s day with a shot of endorphins every few hours sounds like a wonderful way to keep up a great energy signature and keep the body and mind operating at the highest possible frequency. It might be easier to order up a shot of espresso, but I for one would like more of the former if possible.

The easiest and most enjoyable way I have experienced rushes of endorphins is by laughing. And when I mean laughing I mean the typically spontaneous huge belly-grabbing side splitting kind of laughing that has tears coming out of your eyes. Now I don’t know about you, but it isn’t easy to plan or schedule that kind of laughing. I mean you can try… and you can increase your odds by surrounding yourself with positively focused old friends or people of good humor, but usually those moments, with huge endorphin rush laughing, come organically.

I am certain that I have experienced releases of different kinds of endorphins over the course of my life, laughing, roller coasters, and absolutely riding horses, but I have always privately lamented that I have never experienced the elusive “runners high” or “exercise high” that so many people talk about.

Years ago when I was in my 40’s I trained and then ran a half-marathon race, even THEN I never once felt an inkling of that rush some people talk about. True enough I would feel super great when I stopped running. But I rather felt that as massive relief rather than any sort of opiate-like high of an endorphin rush. It was a running private joke for me and my family that I “didn’t believe” in that kind of endorphin. That kind of pleasure in the head apparently was available to certain other special people!

Just about a year ago I decided I needed to level up my health and  started weight training with a partner and a personal trainer. I go twice a week on a regular basis and my private endorphin joke was shared fairly early on. “I think it’s a myth!” I would say. “There is no such a thing as an endorphin in this place!” I would look around and know that others likely did experience endorphin rushes at least at times, but I knew I hadn’t ever in my life. At least not from exercise or running.

It was something I really wanted to experience though. The best thing about either activity for me had always been the moment it was all over! Of course I appreciated the health benefits and the satisfaction of completion, but exercises or running pretty much was always something to get over with.

A while back I said to my trainer, “I think I see an endorphin!” Jokingly, pointing out the window. I had just finished a set of bench pressing with two dumbbells and did feel a bit of a flash. It quickly faded, but I was happy. Just for that small moment. Another day something similar happened, but it too was just a blip. “I think an endorphin is in the parking lot,” I smiled. Happy to set the kettle bells down for relief.

But last week something different happened. Something off the charts different happened in the endorphin department. It started with a text from my husband Tom… an hour before I was even going to get to the gym. He sent a photo of the white board, with that week’s challenge. Box Squats with a barbell weight held on the back. That means you sit down on a box, stand up, sit down and repeat. All with a barbell held behind your neck. The total weight was the “score” and the weight could be any – with a minimum of 45lbs.

Tom said I should do the challenge. I dismissed that outright. Squats are not my best moments in the gym! But the challenge was repeated by Jack and Kim and I good naturedly gave it a go. Jack stood between us as we both started the challenge side by side. I was counting slowly. I figured I could do about 15 or 20 repetitions with the weight on my back. I actually didn’t even know quite how much Jack had set up. I knew it was more than 45, because the bar itself weighed that and he added more weights on top of that. I knew it was better for me mentally not to know the actual number, so I didn’t look closely at all.

I was just finishing 20 when I heard Jack tell Kim that she should try to lift the same number as her “age” Now Kim is in her 40’s! So when Jack said that I laughed a bit and sent him a look, “You better not say that to me!”  Thinking about 62 box squats actually deflated my energy!

I actually felt energy run out of my body, down to my feet and into the floor. I could have easily maxed out my squats at about 22 reps.I just about quit right then. I wondered if I could even get into the 30’s at that point. I decided to stop thinking about how many, my age or really  anything else and just think about “one more rep.”

Just one more.

And you know? This is probably why I am making this video at all. One more rep. The phrase is a lot like one more day. Or even one more hour. Sometimes that is the only way to get through the hard things. Thinking of the end being near can be impossible when it seems so far away. Thinking about how far you have to go …no matter what it is,  can be discouraging. I remembered the years and years of my chronic pain condition. I got through years and years, often by getting through that one day. Or even that one hour. Sometimes just even the next one minute. So Thinking how far away 62 was from 20, when it was already hard seemed crazy, when I switched gears. I was just gonna think of one more.

So I did. I thought of one more. Until I got into the 30’s and almost 40 and I thought, 42 would be a good number if I could get there. And I did. So I wondered if I could do just one more.  And I just kept going. My legs were starting to burn but somehow I managed another squat and then another until I was in my 50s and then the 60s! At 62. I thought great. I almost set the bar on the rack. But wondered if I could do another. I slowed way down. And I just kept going.

At one point Jack asked me again where I was. 85! I choked out. He said, “You can do 100!” that was as bad as when he said “Squat your age!” Energy ran out of my legs. NO WAY. But I went back to thinking about just the next squat.

And you know what? I did it. I made it. I box squatted 100 reps. It was only then I looked to see what the total weight was that was on my back, and it was 75lbs. I had just squatted 7500 total lbs. I stood with my hands and weight on my knees, heart pounding and breathing hard. Wow. That would have been enough accomplishment for the day at the gym! Really!

But that is when the Endorphins came. They came like a whirlwind through open doors marching into my head and for the very first time in my entire life I felt actual exercise endorphins. I was so shocked I couldn’t speak. Jack looked at me and the look on my face and  asked if I was okay. I just said, “They are finally here. The endorphins. They actually have finally arrived.”

The next 20-30 minutes of the workout were a bit of a blur and just flew by. Even though I had only flashes of exercise endorphins to speak about my whole life. I had about a half an hour of the biggest rush ever. It was amazing. Part of me was saying, “It only took a year of this…” but another part of me was so grateful. Did I open a gateway? Can it happen again? I have to say it was a massive rush.

All of this happened only last week. So far this is a singular event and I have no idea if such a thing will ever happen for me at the gym again. But I do know this. If it happened once, it can happen again so I remain hopeful. I also like to think I opened up some sort of bottleneck that had been in existence my whole life. Might it take another 7500lbs? Gosh I hope not. I mean I’d rather it not take quite such an effort the next time!

Leave a Reply

Skip to content