Does Exercise Create an Adrenaline Rush?
Epinephrine, or adrenaline, is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Part of the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, adrenaline is released during periods of stress on the body. It plays a role in exercise physiology and even the thought of exercise may stimulate an adrenaline rush.
The body’s sympathetic nervous system controls release of adrenaline. Any stress on the body including fear, anger or physical exertion may stimulate brain cells in the nervous system to initiate a ‘fight or flight’ response. Stimulated cells in the brain signal adrenal glands which are endocrine organs located above the kidneys. Adrenaline acts as a hormone in the bloodstream, signaling muscles and other tissue in ‘fight or flight’ response.
Emotional Effects of Adrenaline
Before, during and after exercise, athletes experience an emotional euphoria known as ‘runner’s high.’ an adrenaline rush triggers many responses throughout the body including release of neurotransmitters. Triggered by the cascade of events after a rush, neurotransmitters called endorphins evoke an uplifting emotional response in the brain to help fight the effects of stress. Doctors believe exercise helps combat depression and stress to bring emotional balance.
Biochemical Effects of Adrenaline
Ephinephrine stimulates hormonal responses in the body and impacts metabolism. Adrenaline facilitates breakdown of sugar and fat. During physical exercise or exertion, the body depletes its initial energy supply and taps into stored energy in carbs and fats. Adrenaline rush is part of the pathway for metabolic activity.
Artificial Adrenaline Rush
Adrenaline rushes prove medically significant as epinephrine is occasionally used as a drug treatment. Injecting large concentrations of epinephrine into the bloodstream, doctors create an artificial rush to increase heart strength and redirect oxygen flow to vital organs. Adrenaline rushes can be life savers during cardiac arrest or asthma attacks. Some athletes prefer to use adrenaline injections to enhance physical performance but inducing an artificial adrenaline rush with no medical emergency may be lethal.
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