When you take a long hike with friends on a sunny day and felt renewed and happier by the time you got home? I know anytime I take a hike with my hiking crew I return home energized and smiling, almost euphoric.
Your body produces nearly 50 different hormones that influence every facet of your existence. Hormones regulate everything from growth, metabolism, mood, temperature, heart rate, sleep, and sexuality.
Endorphins are specific hormones that act similarly to opioids. The word endorphin comes from the words endogenous, which means “from within the body,” and morphine, an opiate pain reliever. While these happy hormones do make you feel good after a workout, they are actually being released by your pituitary gland to relieve pain. However, they do so much more.
There is so much more to these “hormones” than their ability to boost your mood. Endorphins are most famous for the sense of euphoria they create after a strenuous activity or exercise. You may have heard the term “Runner’s High.” or in our case “Hiking High” The name comes from the euphoric feeling runners/hikers get when they run or hike long distances. It’s caused by the body releasing endorphins to shield your body from the pain, at least temporarily.
Modern technology allows hikers to take advantage of yet another time-honored method of stress relief: listening to music as stress relief, especially when paired with aerobic exercise such as hiking. Not only does it serve to calm the nerves, but it also helps to establish a rhythm of hiking, which accentuates the effectiveness of the body’s aerobic exercise. The combination of endorphins released between the two seemingly disparate activities can deal with stress much more efficiently overall. As a side-benefit, listening to music also significantly helps the brain think more clearly and relax the mind as it helps the body exercise more efficiently. Music has the capability of focusing the effects of every aspect that hikers use to eliminate stress.
Get out and hike, we promise it will change your life.
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