Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Ask a Coach Q & A: Why is it that I feel good after exercise?

Exercise SF


Question: Why is it that I feel good after exercise?

 Answer: By Katy Jercich, Head Health Coach

Exercise is actually a stressor to your body; the moment you begin a workout, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. Blood pressure and oxygen consumption increases causing an Adrenaline fight or flight response.

Your body reacts by releasing a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element for your brain and nervous system and acts as a reset switch. You know that feeling of clarity after exercising? It’s BDNF at work.

Meanwhile, another chemical to fight stress is also released in your brain known as endorphins. “These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria” says Dr. Mark McGovern, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.

Endorphins act as both a painkiller and as the pay-off for your body’s reward system. When you smash your finger in a car door or eat a habanero pepper, you may get a big dose of endorphins to ease the pain. You may also get an endorphin blast from writing with a certain color pen, eating a delicious meal or being exposed to ultraviolet light.

Everyone has different amounts of endorphins, and what may trigger an endorphin rush for one person could very well be nothing at all for someone else. The pay-off in the form of your body tapping into its own stash of feel-good-chemicals (aka- opiates) is to convince you to do it again sometime soon!

Exercise and the increase of the BDNF proteins in your brain acts as a mood enhancer. The effects are similar to drug addiction one study found. So when you start exercising, the feeling of euphoria is the highest. “The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.” (McGovern)

Basically your body needs movement, and that’s what it’s telling you through the endorphin release after exercise. At Studiomix we’re addicted to feeling and moving well and want you to jump on the bandwagon. Send us your pressing fitness & health questions via Facebook, Twitter or directly to so that we can keep you motivated and in the know.

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