Why does exercise make us feel good?
December 13, 2003 5:03 PM   Subscribe

I have always wondered why I tend to feel better after a workout. What kind of chemicals get released during and after physical exertion, and why do they make us feel good?
posted by Keyser Soze to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
 
endorphins : >
posted by amberglow at 5:10 PM on December 13, 2003


(Homer Simpson lifting weights) Mmmm... naturally occuring opiates.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:31 PM on December 13, 2003


What amberglow says, endorphins is a big part of it. Depending on what you're doing there can be testosterone and adrenaline as well. When I used to swim competitively I also really enjoyed the light headedness from oxygen deprivation afterwards, not enough to ever try autoerotic asphyxiation fortunately.
posted by substrate at 6:13 PM on December 13, 2003


I am skeptical. occasionally I feel I should be in better shape, and start working out. I never last more than a couple of weeks. Does this feeling better post-workout phenomena begin immediately, or do I have to tell myself I feel better until I believe it?
posted by Grod at 6:26 PM on December 13, 2003


Does this feeling better post-workout phenomena begin immediately, or do I have to tell myself I feel better until I believe it?

I think it's directly proportional to the intensity of your workout. But then again, I feel better, for longer, after doing high-intensity interval training than I do from lifting weights--even though my perceived level of effort is far higher with the weights.
posted by Tholian at 6:58 PM on December 13, 2003


I have always wondered why I tend to feel better after a workout. What kind of chemicals get released during and after physical exertion, and why do they make us feel good?

MetaTranslator: hey, I'm wondering something but I don't feel like googling it myself. Hey, amberglow, you got a minute? ;)
posted by The God Complex at 8:09 PM on December 13, 2003


sure, TGC--what do you need? ; >
posted by amberglow at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2003


Grod, some people get more endorphins, or at least notice them more than others. And as Tholian says it is related to intensity. Unlink Tholian I tend to get more a more intense feeling from weight lifting than anything else though I do feel good after intense cardio as well. I get my best sleeping done after an intense workout as long as I don't work out to the point that all the muscles in my leg or something decide that it's a really good idea to contract into a tiny ball or something while I'm trying to get to sleep.
posted by substrate at 9:34 PM on December 13, 2003


[metaskme] TGC makes a good point, I think. Seems like KS already kinda knew the answer to his question, or could have easily found it, which makes this a chatroom, which kind of defeats the purpose, maybe? [/metaskme]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:09 PM on December 13, 2003


Grod, I get the same reaction. Working out completely drains me of energy and makes me want to sleep ridiculous amounts. I find I have too much stuff to do to put up with the total energy drain. Perhaps some of us just don't have the same reaction to endorphins. IIRC, narcotics are somewhat similar to endorphins, and I don't tolerate narcotics well at all. If I take any more than the absolute minimum needed for pain, cough suppression, or whatever, I get very nauseated and prone to motion sickness. They usually give you a range (take 1-2 tsp every 6 hours, etc.) and once I made the mistake of taking 2 tsp of the Vicodin cough syrup I was prescribed for pneumonia and playing "Jet Set Radio Future". It wasn't pretty. On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever get addicted to painkillers.
posted by Shoeburyness at 12:46 AM on December 15, 2003


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