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Dr Ooi Mun Yooi, Sports Exercise and Medicine Specialist

1 April, 2023

Have you ever felt at ease and happy after an exercise?
And did you know that the chemical released in your brain after exercise is a ripple of relief from stress?

Endorphin

An endogenous hormone that released from pituitary gland during pleasurable activity e.g., aerobic exercise which helps in reduces pain, relieve stress and improve in general well-being.

What Causes Endorphin Deficiency?

Endorphin levels can be boosted through certain practices, but deficiency can also be caused by genetic or non-genetic factors like stress, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, chronic migraine, and fibromyalgia. These conditions can prevent endorphin release, leading to deficiency over time.

What are the Symptoms of Low Endorphins?

Lacking endorphins can lead to several complications. These symptoms include both physical and mental effects. Symptoms of endorphin deficiency include: 

Depression

Anxiety

Muscle aches 

Overall body pain 

Substance abuse and addiction 

Sleep problems 

Impulsive behaviour 

How Can I Release Endorphins Naturally?

Various methods, such as exercise, diet, love, and laughter, can trigger natural endorphins and opiates in our bodies. Pain in the body releases endorphins in spurts, allowing humans incredible feats of strength and willpower when injured 

Exercise can be an effective way to manage chronic pain by generating endorphins. Despite the challenge of exercising while experiencing pain, endorphins can obstruct pain signals and alleviate anxiety and depression. 

Moreover, exercise can improve physical fitness, increase flexibility and energy, enhance mood, protect cardiovascular health, enhance sleep quality, and maintain a healthy body weight. 

How can exercise help in increasing the release of endorphins?

The Endorphin Hypothesis 🔄The Runner’s high phenomenon

A pleasant feeling state associated with positive self-image, sense of vitality, control, and a sense of fulfilment reported by runners and by other exercisers after a certain amount and intensity of exercise. 

What’s the frequency, type, duration and intensity of exercise for the positive psychological benefits?

Frequency

5 -7x/day 

Type

Aerobic (E.g., running, treadmill, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, jogging) 

Aerobic exercise – is an endurance physical activity which involved the use of oxygen to meet the energy demand via aerobic metabolism adequately 

Intensity

Moderate intensity (can be measured by targeted heart rate or subjective measure based on BORG scale)

Duration

40-60 minutes 

“Suggest that prolonged moderate exercise yields more positive psychological benefits than high- intensity exercise”. 

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