What do people mean by an ‘endorphin rush’ after exercise, and what should you do to make it happen?

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I don’t understand what the endorphin rush is. Everyone talks about it as if it’s a known thing but they never explain it. I’ve been going to the gym for around three months now and all I ever get is exhausted and weak, like my body is made of overcooked spaghetti, afterwards. What should I do to get this rush?

In: Biology

17 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Dopamine. When you eat, that releases dopamine. When you drink alcohol or smoke weed or consume nicotine, that releases Dopamine. Dopamine is known as the “Feel Good” chemical. Without proper dopamine creation in the brain, people end up severely depressed and cannot find happiness in life. That’s why abusing drugs and alcohol causes people’s brain chemistry to change. They can no longer produce dopamine correctly without the chemical substances they consume.


When you exercise, it’s no different. Exercise released Dopamine and other chemicals that help regulate happiness, sleep, etc. So that’s what people are mostly talking about.

Also, you’re clearly hurting yourself and over extending yourself. You should never feel like “Overcooked spaghetti,” if you do that means you’re not exercising smart.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m like OP. I’ve been going to gym for more than 10 years, on and off. And I never once experienced endorphine rush or dopamine reward or anything like that.

I don’t like going to the gym, but I have to. I want to live healthier and longer, and that’s my only drive/motivation for that.

OP is probably never going to get that, but that’s perfectly fine. A lot of things in life never bring me happiness but I keep doing it anyway because it’s a duty. We can get our happiness from many other things.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Are you doing cardio? Do more cardio. Like long sustained jogging for an hour. Cover five miles.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Try running, thats the only time I have felt it. Around 20min mark at a good hard pace.

It feels like something cool/refreshing is being dumped on you but in your brain/nervous system you feel suddenly revigorated and near invincible.

Going to get a bit crude here and say its like when you pause during sex (soaking) and everything just feels good great amazing fantastic! I miss it, might have to get a treadmill now and change my underwear…

Anonymous 0 Comments

Different people get it from different things. I used to get positively loopy after lifting heavy, and once or twice I got a runner’s high on a long run.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you’re interested in finding out what it’s like, you’re almost certain to get one if you go to a Mexican restaurant. Very spicy food will trick your body into thinking that your tongue has been burned. Even if it doesn’t hurt that much. By the end of the night, when you walk out of there, see if you don’t feel inexplicably lighter and more “on”. It’s not like getting high. It’s more like finding that sweet spot.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s something marathon runners and other endurance athletes get after very long periods of exercise. If you run a marathon, your body starts to break down. Your brain senses this as stress and pain. So it releases opioids to act as a painkiller. The name endorphin is short for endogenous morphine. Endogenous means it comes from inside your body, and morphine is a well known opioid.

Sprinters, weightlifters, and other athletes that get breaks don’t really experience it. It needs to be a prolonged period of sustained exercise. Think marathons, triathlons, etc.

People love this feeling. It really is a high. Runners often become addicted to it and decide to run regularly. That’s a good thing, but many people skip the exercise and just use exogenous (external) opioids directly. Similarly, nicotine happens to fit the same receptors as an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. That’s why smoking is so addictive. You can get it from outside the body in enormous quantities instead of waiting for your body to release a tiny amount of it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think it only happens with cardio, and you only really get it if you feel like you’re dying. I’ve only experienced it twice, once when I beat my personal best and the second when I ran 12 miles. I generally just don’t push myself hard enough, any discomfort, and I’m just over it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I get it from running sometimes, but never from lifting. I haven’t heard this said yet so I’ll put it up here. 

  What works relatively consistently for me is running on a treadmill, starting about 45 seconds/mile (**my speed if running a single mile) short of my mile time and then every two minutes turning the speed up a notch. I do this until I’m around max cardio speed, go a few minutes and then walk it back down by a notch a minute. Also really helps with sleep quality in my experience.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your results may vary but when I trained for a marathon, I had only received what I would consider an endorphin rush or a runner’s high only a handful of times and only on long runs that were 8+ miles.

After any workout, I do get an elevated and feel good feeling, but for me a runner’s higher just seemed to happen on very rare chance. I didn’t even get one during my marathon which was the longest i’ve ever ran. I would get them on a random Tuesday out of nowhere.

But when it happened, I definitely know because I felt like I could run forever. I could be exhausted and then something changes in my body and I feel euphoric. I feel like i’m running on clouds, i stop feeling tired and I feel like I could literally run forever. It literally does feel like getting high of weed because it feels like a daydream.