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Heart Healthy Highs From Exercise

March 11, 2010

If you’re like me, the sound of the word “exercise” may sound startlingly like the word “exorcise” and bring to mind all kinds of scary visions. In a strange way though, it still fits, though the focus is on getting “evils” out of your body rather than positively building your body up. We want to focus on feeling good about being healthy, because as a wife and a mom, I’ve learned you can certainly get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Exercise releases healthy endorphinsMedicineNet told us about the feel-good endorphins that have been known to accompany prolonged exercise known as the "runner's high". The body does produce endorphins in response to prolonged, continuous exercise, but of course, endorphin release varies among individuals. This means that two people who exercise at the same level will not necessarily produce similar levels of endorphins.

If running by yourself doesn’t sound fun, try it in a group. Enlist some friends and/or try the Hash House Harriers -- this international group takes all the drudgery out of running.

If running still doesn’t sound fun, here are some other things that are worth trying:
  • Dance classes and competitions – interactive, progressive, competitive, put to music, and sometimes you get to dress up!
  • Hiking or biking – gets you outdoor and enjoying the air.
  • Mall walks – join or create a group that walks around the local shopping mall. It’s social and you get to window shop and keep up on the sales!
  • Check out this list of sports for something that might tickle your fancy!

Remember, aside from heart health, endorphins reduce our perception of pain and lead to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response.With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress, and what’s not fun about that?