Countless pieces of literature, including but not limited to blog posts, magazines, and health reports all talk about the magical “runner’s high,” a euphoric feeling that takes place during and after exercise due to endorphins that get produced in the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland. These endorphins are similar in structure to the drug morphine and are linked to the body’s reward circuits. This is why exercise is so important for mind, body, and spirit, but research has begun to show that it may not be the actual endorphins responsible for this feeling. Endorphins cannot actually cross your blood-brain barrier, so what increases are we experiencing in the brain following exercise? In comes the Bliss Compound, which sounds amazing, right?
The Bliss Compound is a neurotransmitter called Anandamide, which is produced in the brain and temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression.
The name Anandamide is a derivative of the Sanskrit word, meaning “bliss,” hence the name, the Bliss Compound. This neurotransmitter helps to produce that elated, happy feeling you get from a great sweat session, and deficiencies in Anandamide can lead to anxiety and depression. Anandamide is also in chocolate, which is why we often reach for a tasty treat when we are feeling stressed, emotional, tired, or sad.
Studies indicate that the Bliss Compound may be responsible for the increases in a protein called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which helps to not only preserve brain cells but activate brain cells to convert new neurons and effectively make your brain grow larger! Increases in Anandamide could mean increases in brain power!
While exercise has so many proven benefits including weight loss, body fat reduction, and disease prevention, keeping your emotional and mental health balanced and healthy is so important as well, and can be accomplished through your sweat sessions! It’s important to note that Anandamide gets broken down rather quickly, so keeping your exercise regime consistent and scheduling both training sessions and recreational activity every week is a must!
Here is a great little circuit you can do at home with minimal equipment or at the gym to invigorate that Bliss Compound!
Aim to complete this circuit 2-3 times for a metabolic effect, and
Remember to increase weight, repetitions or time if you need more of a challenge!
For the ultimate challenge, complete another round of the workout!
Yours in health and fitness,