It is a known fact that practising sports improves your mood, reduces stress, facilitates concentration, improves your physical fitness, boosts your self-esteem, raises your spirits, enhances productivity, prevents cognitive decline, and helps you feel better and become happier, among other benefits. But did you know that practising sports also generates the same hormone that is produced when you are in love? The key is found in oxytocin.
While performing sports, our body is capable of producing more than 50 different hormones. These chemical substances are secreted naturally by glands found in our body, and ensure that our body is performing its functions correctly.
Among these hormones we find endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, which are responsible for causing feelings of pleasure or wellness. Jointly considered, they are known as the “happiness quartet”, and their effects can last for several hours after your training has been completed.
Below, we explain what goes on with each one of these hormones that enable you to feel happy and relaxed after doing sports:
Dopamine: This hormone produces the feeling of pleasure. It is responsible for stimulating us to continue exercising and is directly related with the objectives we set out for ourselves. By practising sports, you will regulate your dopamine levels and thus make it easier to avoid other less healthy ways of achieving pleasure, such as candy, alcohol, or tobacco.
Additionally, dopamine also increases your learning abilities and memory. You can generate this hormone by performing 20 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, such as running or riding a bicycle.
Serotonin: Our body uses this hormone to make us feel good, but it’s also in charge of making us rest properly and of regulating our appetite.
High levels of serotonin will cause you to feel positive feelings and will even improve your self-esteem, causing you to feel better about yourself.
Endorphin: Also known as “natural morphine”, this hormone causes powerful analgesic and anxiolytic effects. This hormone is responsible for reducing feelings of pain and for overriding negative emotions and feelings.
In order to achieve an optimal level of endorphins, we recommend practising 30 or 45 minutes of exercises such as, among others, running, swimming, or rowing , at a low- or medium-level of intensity.
Oxytocin: This is the most sociable of all hormones and this is why it is known as the “cuddle hormone”, since it facilitates emotional bonding and an affective link with those who surround you.
Of course, this hormone is generated not only by cuddling or hugging, but also by performing other physical activities, such as dancing and practising sports.
This hormone causes a feeling of trust and appreciation towards others, and a feeling of tranquillity and profound wellness.
It is then clear that love and sports are closely related, generating similar hormones and giving rise to multiple benefits for our physical and emotional health. Fall in love with exercising if you still have not found the motivation to begin and, if your already have, consolidate your relationship. At Aictive, we are ready to help you out. Contact us and we will conduct an assessment of your movements at your sports centre, gym, or at your own home, so that you can optimize your performance and fully enjoy these benefits