• Venetia Howes

Exercise to increase your endorphins - the happy hormones!

What are Endorphins?

We often hear about how good it is to get an endorphin boost. But what is it and what is the best way to do it?

Endorphins are types of chemicals called neurotransmitters that get released as a response to stimuli. Endorphins

interact with cell receptors in the brain that reduce pain and control emotions but have also been shown to improve mood, reduce anxiety and relieve stress.

Using Exercise to Get an Endorphin Boost

Doing things like eating chocolate or hot chilli peppers, or laughing heartily can raise your endorphin levels. But let’s

look at stimulating endorphin production through exercise. Doctors often prescribe exercise to fight anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, but do we take their advice? Sometimes you may know that it would do you good, but you just feel too lethargic to get up and do it, not realising all the positive benefits you are missing out on!

There are specific types of exercise to focus on to get the best results; studies show high-intensity interval training

— HIIT — is the best for increasing the amount of opioid peptides in your brain, which are responsible for boosting

your endorphin release. "High-intensity interval training describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts

of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest.” So, for example, you could run as fast as you can for 1 minute and then walk for 2 minutes. Repeat this 3-minute interval five times for a 15-minute endorphin

promoting workout. Simple!

Alternative types of exercise that help to generate and release endorphins:


Running (runners high!)


Exercise to increase your endorphins - the happy hormones!

Join a group!

You can get added benefits when working out with others in a group, especially if it’s fun, since laughing also helps to

raise endorphins, and connection with others also improves mood.

Sure - there will be energy expenditure and at first this can be hard to find, particularly when reserves are already low;

but rather than making you feel tired (on top of already feeling tired), it does just the opposite and gives you more

energy. Endorphins are referred to as your body's natural opiates, relaxing as well as energising you, with results going far beyond the physical and extending to a person's wellbeing and happiness, whilst also alleviating anxiety and depression.

Need more convincing?

Try it out and see how you feel! Decide on a day that you will commit to one of the above, or another high intensity

type of exercise. Rate your mood and energy on a scale of 1-10. Then, when you have completed at least 20 minutes

of running, cycling, dancing, etc. or 15 minutes of HIIT training, rate your mood again. In the vast majority of cases,

your score will have increased significantly, having a positive effect on your day, your mood, your outlook, your energy

and of course, your overall health and weight loss results, too. Add in some fresh air and being in nature and you have

the perfect feel-good recipe.


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