The Many Rewards of Intense Physical Challenges

November 6, 2009 by  
Filed under blog

You may have noticed that I talk a lot about my physical activities and how they relate to goal setting and accomplishments. But what I should also tell you is that I play competitive tennis, bike tough hills, and hike mountains because these tough physical challenges also give me a fantastic natural “high” that contributes to my ability to succeed. And that high is not all from the psychological boost the physical accomplishments give me.

According to numerous studies, that super good feeling you get from intense physical exertion is a result of endorphins and dopamine being released into your system and the burning of a stress hormone called cortisol. Endorphins are hormones that block brain receptors from receiving pain-signaling molecules, acting much like an opiate drug but without the negative side effects. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of pleasure. Cortisol, on the other hand, is a hormone that is produced when we are under physical or psychological stress and, when present in excess, inflames and damages our organs. Intense exercise though, burns cortisol reducing this inflammation and making us feel better overall.

The euphoria and increased feeling of well-being that results from these physiological changes along with the mental stimulation novel and challenging experiences combine to give you an unbeatable feeling and that will increase your passion for life.

So get out there and, with your doctor’s blessing, find new and exhilarating ways to push yourself physically. It will not only increase your health, it will heighten your overall motivation and help elevate your level of accomplishment in anything you aim to do.


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