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Thread: Endorphin high

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    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Endorphin high

    Years ago, when I was running, training for a half marathon, I experienced endorphin highs and just recently, I got to wondering if cyclists, notably, daily commuters, have experienced the same.

    Given that running is much higher impact on the body and therefore, may be more likely to create endorphins, it is possible that it is less prevalent in cyclists.

    I must admit that I don't know what the symptoms are except that a few months after the half-marathon (I continued running), I had a severe ankle sprain and was told to stop running for a few weeks to allow it to heal and when I was caught running a week later, I was told again to stop and that it was the endorphins that were "encouraging" me to continue. I did as I was told and the ankle healed. That's all I know about endorphins.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby

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    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    To get that high, you have to keep pushing your performance. If you just level off like I pretty much do, it doesn't show up, or at least isn't as apparent. I do enjoy the feeling of being tired, from physical work. I've been wondering if that is related to endorphins, as it doesn't really feel the same. Sometimes I wonder if some of the sedentary people that I know experience that tired feeling much differently from how I experience it.
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    Haven't gotten it with commuting, I have after long (for me) recreational rides.

    The difference for me seems to be what I'm doing after. When commuting I'm trying to cool down and recover as fast as possible to started at work. Recreationally I'll just come home, maybe have a late lunch with the SO or just sit on the couch and read a book. That's when I feel the "high"

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    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Hi, i'm andy & i am addicted to my bike.

    After days when im riding all day into the evening around town i feel pretty good but really worn out.

    - Andy
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Riding can be euphoric , particularly climbing a prolonged hill in rain. Strange ? Maybe, but I love it.

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    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    Riding can be euphoric , particularly climbing a prolonged hill in rain. Strange ? Maybe, but I love it.
    Oh my god i love riding in a hard rain at night i the summer. I may or may not let loose a woohoo or 3....

    - Andy
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

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    Senior Member Walpurgisnacht's Avatar
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    You can get the endorphin rush with any physical activity, really. For most people, it seems to kick in around the time that you're pushing yourself. The endorphins dull the pain and give you that good feeling.

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    Really long rides (250km+) it happens. Feel bouncy for days after.

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    You bet I get that feeling -- the thrill of playing in traffic with cars, the endorphins from pushing my body to its limit, the sense of satisfaction from travelling under my own power, and the well-being that carries through the rest of my day. I'm most definitely happier and at peace with my world when I'm riding regularly.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    For me it takes around 45-50 minutes which is longer than my commute. An intense hike, along with the view from the summit, makes me feel insanely good, so I imagine a similar sort of hill climbing ride would do the same thing.

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    Just the other night, I took an after work joy ride, twenty some odd miles, zipping along, dodging traffic, flying up and down hills and over bridges. I had this feeling come over me, like I was completely at one with my bike, the road, and the traffic, like I was doing a dance. Everything seemed natural, easy, instinctive, fluid, and free. I was pushing kinda hard for me. Eventually I pooped myself out, and the feeling passed, but there was an afterglow. I didn't occur to me at the time, but maybe it was endorphins.

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    Cycling is actually an addiction. If I don't ride in a given day I feel put out and grumpy at best.

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    Senior Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    In my 20's I swam a mile most mornings ~40 minutes. About 30 minutes into my swim a warm rush of well-being would wash over me. With biking, I don't notice that all-at-once wash, but after my 40 minute commute each way, I feel a less intense "high". I've often wondered if the lower intensity is due to being 25 years older, or that I'm using fewer muscles. I definitely exert less on the way to work, but I push it on the way home and neither produces that "wash" like swimming did, nor do my extended multi-hour rides.
    "When life hands you lumens, make lumen-aide!"

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    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    Not addicted. But it's a habit for me. Definitely feel better for riding. But I've never had the endorphin high from any exercise, running or cycling.

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    I'm most definitely happier and at peace with my world when I'm riding regularly.
    +1, I'm heading out for a ride shorty

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    What are the indicators of an endorphin high? Physiologically, without hyberbole, as you'd explain to someone who reacts poorly to opiates such as hydrocodone.

    My wife is convinced that I'm riding an endorphin high after I've finished a good 3 or 4 hour ride but aside of feeling relaxed and tired I can't really say.

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    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    According to the Wikipedia entry on Runner's High, there is a sense of euphoria when it occurs.
    A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice. Bill Cosby

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    According to the Wikipedia entry on Runner's High, there is a sense of euphoria when it occurs.
    The section "Research" casts doubt on the relationship with endorphin though, so evidently we can have runners high or "endorphin high" even if it may not be directly due to endorphin. So I guess my answer to OP is no, I for one may get the endorphins but I don't get the "high".

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Only with racing or intense training. Just riding to work doesn't do it.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Junior Member TrekNerd's Avatar
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    I normally feel the high or maybe the rush when I am commuting through busy city traffic. From the car door opening to the dump trucks that forget to put their turn signals, I stay in an alert status. When a major traffic jam occurs I speed pass cars and try to get home before dark.

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    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I get it cycling but not on my short, 6 mile, commutes. For me to experience it I've got to go deep into the pain cave and wrestle with the monster.

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    Twilight Requiem AdrianFly's Avatar
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    YES oh man.. YES I DO after hard rides.

    I usually surf this forum while experiening these natural cycling endorphin boosts as well.


    I love you guys

    The Bearded Fred: Only known cyclist left in the world to be 100% natural and completely free from performance enhancing drugs. Also known for self reliance, amazing talent for satisfying the women and great guitar riffs. Honestly, a full racing kit is absolutely the most ridiculous looking stuff you can wear short of a clown suit."

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    What are the indicators of an endorphin high? Physiologically, without hyberbole, as you'd explain to someone who reacts poorly to opiates such as hydrocodone.

    My wife is convinced that I'm riding an endorphin high after I've finished a good 3 or 4 hour ride but aside of feeling relaxed and tired I can't really say.
    (You'll have to pardon the anthropomorphisms, but they make this easier to write...)

    The way that I understand it is, the body is not attempting to make you "high" or "happy" when it releases endorphins or other analgesics. The goal is to strike a balance between anesthetizing pain and keeping the person/animal lucid and functional, so the body is trying to release just enough. So it's very possible that it is doing that, but you'll only really notice it on the occasions that you have pushed yourself especially hard, or given yourself a slight (or not) injury that required a little more. Occasionally, an uncontrollable smile will creep across my lips when I'm climbing a hill and I will be in really good spirits during and after the ride.

    In the case of some of us, the effects of exercise are more notable in its absence. My girlfriend notices how content I am when I've been riding regularly, and how "grumpy" or unmotivated I might be if I haven't been able to in a while. Some folks are even able to cut back on (or eliminate) antidepressants because the exercise is restoring the mental balance they might not otherwise have. Whether it's due to endorphins or something else, it's a very real effect.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    (You'll have to pardon the anthropomorphisms, but they make this easier to write...)

    The way that I understand it is, the body is not attempting to make you "high" or "happy" when it releases endorphins or other analgesics. The goal is to strike a balance between anesthetizing pain and keeping the person/animal lucid and functional, so the body is trying to release just enough. So it's very possible that it is doing that, but you'll only really notice it on the occasions that you have pushed yourself especially hard, or given yourself a slight (or not) injury that required a little more. Occasionally, an uncontrollable smile will creep across my lips when I'm climbing a hill and I will be in really good spirits during and after the ride.

    In the case of some of us, the effects of exercise are more notable in its absence. My girlfriend notices how content I am when I've been riding regularly, and how "grumpy" or unmotivated I might be if I haven't been able to in a while. Some folks are even able to cut back on (or eliminate) antidepressants because the exercise is restoring the mental balance they might not otherwise have. Whether it's due to endorphins or something else, it's a very real effect.
    Completely agree.

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    riding to work in the morning used to make me feel like a super hero. call it what you want, is that good enough for you?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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