Why Do We Feel So Good After a Hard Training Session

We’ve all had our share of struggles with training. Staying consistent, pushing ourselves hard enough, and finding ways to make our workouts more interesting are all challenges. Plus, there is a fair amount of disagreement going around:

How to train as best as we can, what exercises we should avoid, and more.

But there is one thing which we can all agree on:

Working out makes us feel good. In fact, it can even make us feel euphoric and energised. The question is, why does that happen? Let’s discuss.

What Makes Us Feel Happy In Response to Training?
Most people are aware of the physical exercise benefits. We get to build strength, become more endurant, gain muscle, and more. For example, the more often you squat heavy, the better you get at the exercise.

But physical activity also impacts the brain profoundly, and it all has to do with our built-in survival mechanisms.

You see, the body sees exercise as a stressor - as something that means to do us harm. So, it deploys its defence mechanisms to help us deal with that stressor. Most notably, this means the body produces and releases opioid hormones called endorphins. These hormones primarily work to suppress pain and make it easier for us to overcome the challenge. But, as it turns out, these hormones also elevate our mood. In some cases, we might even feel euphoric as a result.

If you’ve ever heard of the runner’s high - that’s precisely thanks to endorphins in response to physical stress.

What’s Even More Fascinating About Happiness And Hard Training
Many people struggle to be consistent with exercise. The reason is, they fail to gain momentum and are forever stuck to be beginners - always starting enthusiastically, going for a while, and quitting.

The good news is, there is hope for everyone, regardless of how difficult it might seem to exercise consistently. The reason is, endorphins make us feel good, which can have addictive qualities that make us crave exercise in the future.

The bad news is, it takes a while for these addictive qualities to develop. Sure, we know exercise will make us feel better. But we still need to muster enthusiasm and flex our discipline muscles to pull it off.

By doing it long enough and pushing through the initial difficulties, we can gain momentum with the habit. By that point, we no longer associate exercise with panting, sweating, and exhaustion. (Well, not as much, anyway.) Instead, we begin to see exercise as a natural part of our days; as something positive and beneficial that makes us feel good.

If you’ve ever wondered how someone could exercise daily for years, it likely doesn’t have that much to do with discipline. Instead, the person likely associates exercise with pleasant feelings and actively seeks them out.

Of course, it still takes discipline from time to time. We all feel tired sometimes and don’t feel like working out. But once you’ve conditioned your mind to crave exercise, having regular workouts is no longer a challenge. Instead, you enjoy them and look forward to each upcoming session.

August 02, 2021 — Daniel Felstein

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