Endorphins (Lack of?)

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KestrelLowing
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Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby KestrelLowing » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:23 pm UTC

Something I've never understood is when people feel good after a work out. I thought initially that it was just crazy people who actually enjoyed physical activity.

Evidently, I'm the odd one out. I think the main reason people feel good after a work out are because of endorphins. Is it possible that my body just doesn't produce endorphins?

Another thing that people often say is that once they actually start exercising, they don't mind it. Well, that's certainly false for me. I pretty much hate every minute of it.

If you're like me and every time you exercise just leaves you beat and dreading the next workout, how do you stay fit? I'm female, 5'10" and currently 150 lbs. I'm a little heavy for my small frame and the most healthy weight for me would probably be 140. While I've never had an issue before, my metabolism is starting to slow down a little and I'm worried that I will (A) never be able to do anything physical ever and that (B) I'll gain weight and get diabetes and heart disease (both in my family).

So if you never feel good after/during exercise, how can you do it?

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Ulc
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby Ulc » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:37 pm UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Something I've never understood is when people feel good after a work out. I thought initially that it was just crazy people who actually enjoyed physical activity.

Evidently, I'm the odd one out. I think the main reason people feel good after a work out are because of endorphins. Is it possible that my body just doesn't produce endorphins?


Nope, that's not really possible - it's quite possible there's a physical reason that you don't feel good at all, but not producing endorphins at all is not really possible

A general question, have you ever been decently fit? By this I don't just mean the ideal weight, but also capable of lifts, runs and biking without getting exhausted right away?

Because, when I make the mistake of neglecting working out, it is certainly not easy to start again - and what you describe you feel is pretty spot on for what I feel when I've been letting myself go for a while and need to start over. And if this is the case, what you need is to shoulder through it stubbornly for 5-6 weeks, 3 times per week, and it might very start to change.

But if you really don't like exercising, and wont ever get to do so. Taking up a fun partnered activity like dancing, martial arts or similar things.
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KestrelLowing
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby KestrelLowing » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:16 pm UTC

That is a good point. I've never been particularly fit. While I tend to have decent endurance for slower things (think hiking and walking and such - I can usually 'out-hike' the average 'fit' person but I think that's just being stubborn sometimes) I'm horrible when it comes to anything that is anything faster than that (running, biking up hills, etc.). I have hardly any muscle strength and I never have.

However, I've been alright with exercising 3 times a week for a half hour for the past 12 weeks or so. I have missed some, but I've been trying really, really hard not to. I've been working on the couch to 5K program. Sadly, I haven't managed to progress past week 3. It's made me wonder if I'm just really odd and just not meant for exercise because I still feel horrible. Last year, I was also exercising 4 days a week for a half hour (just on an elliptical) for at least 10 weeks and I still really disliked it.

One thing I have started doing is rock climbing and I really enjoy it. I just got a membership to a rock gym this summer and I'm planning on buying some shoes this week (the rental ones are pretty painful - I have a longer second toe than first so those shoes just aren't made for it). I also enjoy biking outside and I'll be moving to a house that's right on a bike path this summer so hopefully that will help.

So, I guess it's possible for me to enjoy exercise, just not the typical kind.

_Axle_
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby _Axle_ » Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:07 am UTC

The big thing is finding something you like. You sound like you like Rock Climbing, so continue that. Think of ways outside of actually rock climbing to help with it. Like, if you lift light weights to get more muscle, then think about how this is helping for rock climbing and not so much lifting weights.

I hate running ... so, if I ever did it, I would hate doing it before, during and after. Though, what I have been working out on is something fun. I use a punching bag. Kind of of a slump with it, cause of end of semester crunch. I look forward to punching it, during it... I will admit, it hurts and pushes my body. Right after, my arms fell like putty, but I still feel good.
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Solt
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby Solt » Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:42 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:Last year, I was also exercising 4 days a week for a half hour (just on an elliptical) for at least 10 weeks and I still really disliked it.


I would rather drink my own piss than spend time on an elliptical. It's basically pure pain, without any sort of visible progression. Plus you completely ignore some major benefits of exercise by using them. I am firmly of the belief that, aside from biking, any exercise that you need a machine to do is bullshit. Our bodies aren't made for it, don't waste your time.

You aren't going to like everything you try. Have you considered weight lifting?
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Save Point
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby Save Point » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:36 am UTC

I actually do like the elliptical. I run, mostly, but I'm old now and my knees hurt frequently enough that a stint on the elliptical lets me break a sweat without the same impact as running. I guess, in this respect, I find the elliptical to be the exact opposite of pure pain; it's a fairly efficient workout, imo. I just try to mix it up with other things.

Bikes are fine too, of course, but I have to stick up for the elliptical.

Ever try rowing?

biodomino
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby biodomino » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:45 pm UTC

This deserves a more thorough response than I can offer right now, but in short, there is nothing abnormal about finding fitness and conditioning exercises unpleasant, low endorphins or not. Sometimes I feel amazing when I'm working out-- literally better than probably anyone else will ever feel when working out-- but that doesn't mean that I expressly LIKE running on a treadmill.

Much of the problem of fitness and physical activity is a cultural one: we perceive that we have a finite number of options with which we can engage in exercise, but we really don't. There are many more interesting and enjoyable ways to exercise than traditional fitness or even sporting activities, and you should aim to find things that work for you. Don't be afraid to get creative. My brother and I once entertained ourselves for several hours getting a vigorous workout simply by trying to see how many times we could bounce a playground ball off the back of our hand without dropping it, and there are certainly more interesting and engaging things to do than that.

The best exercise is play, not work.

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savanik
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby savanik » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:03 pm UTC

I was always under the impression that the body tends to release endorphins as a response to pain (allowing you to function) or fear (as a side product of adrenaline). It may well be that you aren't coming under enough stress to produce them. That said, I've never understood people who would voluntarily cause themselves that much pain (it's there for a reason, you are DAMAGING yourself) for a temporary high.

Runner's high, btw, entirely different. Near as I can understand, that's mostly psychological.
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Nath
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby Nath » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:54 pm UTC

savanik wrote:I was always under the impression that the body tends to release endorphins as a response to pain (allowing you to function) or fear (as a side product of adrenaline). It may well be that you aren't coming under enough stress to produce them. That said, I've never understood people who would voluntarily cause themselves that much pain (it's there for a reason, you are DAMAGING yourself) for a temporary high.

Damage is necessary for adaptation, which is the point of exercise. The idea is to inflict a controlled amount of damage that you can recover from before the next workout*. The body supercompensates slightly to reduce the damage from similar stress in the future.

That said, pain is not a good indicator of useful stress. Some painless workouts are productive and some painful workouts are unproductive.

*Well usually. Sometimes athletes plan several demanding workouts consecutively, so that they cumulatively act as one giant adaptive stimulus. Usually performance is pretty bad towards the end of this phase, but gets a lot better once the athlete recovers.

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KestrelLowing
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Re: Endorphins (Lack of?)

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon May 02, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

So I've decided I'm just not going to go to the gym anymore (at least now that it's warm) and I'm just going to ride my bike, rock climb, and try to do some body weight exercises (planks and the like). Screw running and weight machines! Next week I'll be moving to a house on the end of a 10 mile bike path, so hopefully I'll keep up biking for quite some time. The body weight exercises will be difficult for me, but I'm hoping I can just remember that it will help me get better at things I actually enjoy.


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