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High intensity exercises release endorphins in brain
September 5, 2017, 4:26 pm
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Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland have found that exercise-induced endorphins released in the brain depend on the intensity of the exercise.

Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system that have several physiological functions. The new study suggests that endorphin release induced by exercise could be an important mechanism that affects exercise motivation and maintenance of regular physical activity.

Researchers at the university found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) leads to endorphin release in the brain, which might alleviate the physical and emotional stress caused by these exercises. A less demanding, traditional one-hour aerobic exercise does not cause similar endorphin release.

In the study, HIIT significantly increased the release of endorphins and other opioid peptides in the brain areas controlling pain and emotions. In addition, HIIT induced negative feelings in the test subjects, which was associated with higher endorphin release. On the other hand, one-hour aerobic exercise, though it did not induce significant release of endorphins, it increased pleasurable feelings and euphoria, which correlated with endorphin release.

At moderate training intensities, the pleasurable sensations caused by the possible release of endorphins may promote habitual exercise. At very high exercise intensities the release of endorphins appears to be linked to increased negative feelings and pain, and may be needed to manage the emotionally and physically demanding challenge. However, such negative feelings may discourage further exercise, said the researchers.

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