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Although neuropeptides which generate a feeling of euphoria surges in significant quantities from the brain during strenuous physical activities such as long distance running and rowing, small amounts are also secreted during less demanding sporting activities. The neuropeptides are the reason why we feel particularly great after a solid morning run.
Apart from the feeling of happiness and contentment, the chemicals secreted from the brain also trigger anxiolysis, which is a natural sedative-like effect which reduces depression and anxiety. The combination of these elements ultimately create a sense of well-being that lifts our mood and spirit up, and turn the world into a brighter and more colourful place. A documented secondary effect also includes improvements in blood circulation.
You don’t have to be a Kenyan marathon runner or an Oxford University rower to have a similar experience. Many individual and team sports accord casual practitioners a small fraction of the runner’s high. Not boxing though, or other martial sports – it takes quite a beating before the brain provides neurological rewards.
For individual sports, running is the best way to experience the endorphin rush. After tiredness begins to set in, increase your pace for as long as you can. You will feel a mild sense of elation throughout the day. Cycling offers the same reward, but triggering a similar effect will take a little longer.
Scientists have noted that endorphin secretions grow noticeably higher in team sports. The social dynamics of team sports plays a factor here. Obviously, physically demanding sports like football, basketball and tennis will generate similar feel-good factor. Surprisingly, however, less demanding sports like golf also produce perceptible sense of well-being to participants.
You can dispense with pots of coffee, energy drinks and cigarettes to get you through the day – a good morning workout will do the trick just as well!