All-in With Adrenaline?
Everyone knows that highly intense adrenaline rush that happens when you are driving down the road – at the speed limit of course – and suddenly the car in front stops short causing you to slam on your breaks. It feels like you can barely catch your breath and your heart is about to leap out of your chest. Your blood pressure rises, your heart is pumping hard and fast, and you may even feel a rush of sweat.
If you’ve ever been chased by an angry dog, been in a fist fight, or were behind a slow driver in the fast lane when you were in a rush, you know that adrenaline feeling that wells up. But you can also experience that intense feeling when good things happen as well – from getting that job you’ve been waiting to hear about, to winning the lottery, to winning the big game, to hearing your love say “yes.”
Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is a neurotransmitter and hormone that is secreted by a part of the autonomic nervous system, the medulla of the adrenal glands located just above your kidneys. Additional catecholamine, norepinephrine and dopamine – the feel good hormones – are also secreted.. Why “feel good”?
Adrenaline is released when you are in a “fight or flight” stress response. It’s protective, leaving you with an observable increase in perceived strength, coupled with a diminished sense of pain and an increase in energy and awareness.
During exercise, particularly at the beginning of exercise, epinephrine concentrations increase rapidly. Think about what happens when you begin a full-body workout on your Total Gym.
Your brain signals your adrenal glands to start secreting adrenaline. This increases your heartbeat, blood glucose and muscle strength, while pumping more oxygen and glucose to your large and small muscles, getting you ready to react to the “stress” of exercise (“fight or flight”) by strengthening muscle tissue for increased endurance. Your athletic performance is heightened as your airways are open for improved breathing, your vital organs are receiving better blood flow and necessary oxygen, your pupils are dilated so you can see more clearly, digestion is slowed, and you are cleansing your body with increased sweating.
This is the same adrenaline that allows you to perform amazing feats of strength as it convert your body’s fuel source, glycogen, into the fuel glucose, a carbohydrate that energizes and strengthens your muscles.
So when you feel that increase in strength, your senses are dialed high, your energy level is turbocharged, your breathing is speeding up and you are feeling no pain, thank your Total Gym workout for helping you release adrenaline. It’s a good sign that all systems are working—and it’s time to slow it down with cool down stretches, slower beats per minute music on your music player, perhaps some reflective thinking and before you know it, you will be feeling better than before you started.