MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: Why does the body produce endorphins during exercise?

Date: Tue Feb 16 21:19:24 1999
Posted By: Phyllis Pugh, Post-doc/Fellow, Neurobiology, Medical College of Ohio
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 918421619.Ns

Good question.

The body most likely produces endorphins during exercise because the body doesn't realize that you are just "exercising." Think of it this way, if you were running away from an enemy (or predator or any type of danger), would you really want to know how much your muscles (or sprains or strains or even broken things) hurt? No, it would be a distraction to the task at hand, namely survival. So, the body produces endorphins (the natural opiates) which dampen down the pain inputs. Today, of course, you are likely to be running to lose a few pounds or for a race or because you enjoy it, but as you work out, your body doesn't necessarily know why the activity levels are what they are ... it is just monitoring the levels.

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