Nature’s Drugs – Your Endogenous Morphine

By Rawiyah Mulung and LeAura Alderson

Natural Solutions for a Quick Fix that Works. No Pills.

It’s easy to discount simple solutions for problems that plague us. Yet often, that’s all it takes. Simple may not be easy… it may take more effort than taking a pill. But pills often mask issues and create greater problems down the road while our health deteriorates, undetected.

The one universal truth about exercise: It is beneficial. Actually…

Exercise is essential.

Exercise is proven to boost your mood, make you more productive throughout the day, and can extend your lifespan. But the most beneficial aspect of exercise is the health problems it can fix and prevent.

Most health issues can be addressed through diet and exercise.

We’ve all heard that but not many really take the time to reflect on the cost-benefit of exercise and a healthy lifestyle over the exorbitant costs and pain of the convenience, sugar-addicted and sedentary lifestyle?

If you’re reading this, then you’re one of those who takes action—or is ready to take action—with healthy, natural remedies. Kudos!

No one ever regrets getting healthier and fitter. No one. Ever.

 

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This is because exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle triggers the release of endorphins. You’ve heard these called “The Happy Hormones”, or “Feel Good Hormones”. That’s their job. Endorphins are the body’s medicine chest and include pain-relief, mood-boosting, anti-anxiety and sleep relief catalysts.

Endorphins were discovered and labeled in 1975, and as studies continued, scientists discovered a small amino-acid molecule called “enkephalin, that was 48 times more powerful than morphine when injected into the brain, but only 3 time more powerful when injected into the blood, yet vastly more addictive.

This naturally occurring amino acid molecule was named ‘endorphin’ after the words endogenous (internal/native), and morphine.

The conclusion: artificial painkillers and mood altering medications are dramatically—and negatively—addictive. Whereas when endorphins are released from within the brain through natural activities, such as we outline below, they produce the same effect, and can be addicting, which is good news in this case:

Feel good hormones can be addictive, so keep up your fitness routine long enough and it will become an automatic, positively addicting habit. The same thing happens with healthy foods. You just have to engage the new habits long enough for the natural neurotransmitters to be activated and take over from the artificial activators or sugar, and other stimulants.

Here are three common health problems typically cured by exercise:

  1. Anxiety

A proven way to ease anxiety naturally is with a bout of cardio, says Michael Otto, PhD, co-author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety. Getting your heart pumping increases the release of mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters, like serotonin, norepinephrine and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), which is why you can feel like you’re sweating off stress during Spinning class.

“Tens of millions of symptom-specific prescriptions are written, but only a few address the GABA deficiency causing them.” – Dr. Eric Braverman, quoted in SiliconValleyFit.com

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Exercise reduces anxiety using nature’s anti-anxiety medicine – serotonin,

  1. Daytime Sleepiness

Instead of leaning on caffeine (which can prevent you from falling asleep later, causing drowsiness again the next day), get moving. Folks who meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes a week are 65 percent less likely to feel tuckered out during the day, a 2011 study found. “Exercisers fall asleep faster, suffer fewer middle-of-the-night wake-ups and have a reduced risk of sleep disorders,” says study co-author Brad Cardinal, PhD, co-director of the sport and exercise psychology program at Oregon State University.

Walk outside during work breaks, whenever you can. It will change your day… and your life!

  1. Back pain

The supporting muscles around your spine become less resilient with age; sitting hunched over a computer all day weakens them further. But the new thinking is that rest isn’t usually the answer. “Research has shown that a better fix, in most patients, is strength training,” advises Wayne Westcott, PhD, an exercise scientist at Quincy College in Massachusetts. “It can lessen pain by 30 to 80 percent in 10 to 12 weeks.” Developing your lower-back, abdominal and oblique muscles takes pressure off your spine and improves range of motion, both preventing and treating pain.

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Leg extensions can be very beneficial for lower back pain, as can squats.

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Now this lady knows how to squat!

Choose Exercise as your Medicine!

Why rely heavily on costly medicines and drugs when you can quick-fix these health issues through exercise? Studies have been carried out. The facts and figures are right there for us to see.

And you know this is just one small piece to the fitness benefits puzzle. If you have joint issues for instance, exercise can strengthen your knees.

Exercise is free, and the benefits are immeasurable. So next time you experience health issues—and presuming you have doctor’s clearance—put on your sneakers and get going! Or better yet, prevention is better than cure. Exercise now so you don’t have to experience these health problems at all.

 

RESOURCES

ARTICLE:
How to Fix Health Problems With Exercise, Health Magazine
4 Exercises to Strengthening Your Knees, BestFitLife

BOOKS:
Habits of a Happy Brain, by Loretta Graziano Breuning PhD