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In Praise Of Endorphins

Cartoon image of happy endorphins in a synapse
Image source: http://www.bxscience.edu/ourpages/users/Villani/bionic/2008/articles/Endorphins/Endorphins.htm

Every time I move, laugh, or breathe today has been a sore reminder of the 45-minute ab class I went to on Tuesday night.  This was the first time I had attended the class and when she introduced it as an Advanced Abs class, a fact not advertised on the schedule, I knew I was in for it.  I go to the gym a few times a week, but I don’t really do a lot of ab work, so I was not prepared for the 45 minutes in front of me.  After the first set of exercises I was already concerned about my ability to complete the class.  Fortunately, the class was filled with Resolutioners so I wasn’t the only one without a 6-pack.  For the first half of the class I debated how embarrassing it would be too leave, it was that tough.  At almost the halfway point another woman did leave the class.  It wasn’t much of a disturbance, through, since the grunts and groans of the class were echoing loudly through the work-out room.  And then, miraculously, just as I was thinking of following that woman’s lead, my endorphins kicked in.  I could almost pinpoint the moment when that high started up.  I was unstoppable for the rest of the class, and had even more of a high because I was proud of myself for finishing such a tough class.

I just want to give my endorphins a high five!  Studies show that it typically takes 20-30 minutes of intense exercise for endorphins to be released in the bloodstream, but that it can vary from person-to-person.  I would venture to say from time to time, too.  How many times have you slogged through a workout, never feeling pumped or rejuvenated?  Also, did you know that it’s probably not even really endorphins that are giving you the high?  It’s probably serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.  You’ll recognize those words from antidepressant commercials if nowhere else.  It’s not really news that exercise is an effective antidepressant, but it’s pretty awesome when you can feel it actually working right in the middle of your advanced abs class.

Assuming my muscles have recovered by then, I’m going to check it out next week.  I’m already pumped!

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