Nerd alert! I’ve got some weird (but super interesting) science for you in this post.
As a coach, I’m always curious about the reasons why people stick with their routines, so whenever I get the chance, I ask them.
Especially the ones who have been exercising and prioritizing their activity for decades.
Almost every one of the active older people (70s, 80s, and beyond!) I talk to say they get in a workout most days of the week because it makes them feel better mentally.
Have you ever worked out and then felt loose, relaxed, and generally awesome afterward?
This isn’t like the euphoric “runner’s high” we always hear about.
This is a more chill vibe – the calm, content, and centered feeling you can get after a good workout.
It’s actually one of my favorite things about exercise … and guess what?
Scientists now say it’s NOT from endorphins! They believe it’s caused by a natural hormone that’s similar to cannabis.
When you exercise, your body releases endocannabinoids — chemicals that are naturally produced in your body.
Endocannabinoids can move easily between the blood-brain barrier (unlike endorphins, which can’t easily pass through).
Once these endocannabinoids are in your brain, they can reduce anxiety and promote calmness.
→ In fact, our bodies have an entire endocannabinoid system that affects our mood, pain levels (as in helping to lower them), and even our central and peripheral nervous systems.
Scientists are learning more and more about how exercise and moving our bodies work to trigger this system – and they are also studying how it plays a role in our sense of well-being and quality of life as we get older.
Pretty fascinating stuff.
And it’s just one more reason to make sure you get in your workout later today! :-)