A Natural High

July 22, 2003

What a rush! The woman is laughing for no reason, her legs are bouncing up and down to no particular beat, and her eyes are agog. All this while sitting in the car at the traffic lights – and the radio isn’t even on. “Change!” she urges them as she thumps away a nondescript beat on the steering wheel. “Change! I have stuff to do!” No, she’s not on some illicit substance. She’s just come from the gym. Getting high, naturally Within you, you have a laboratory producing a powerful drug. If you were able to package it and sell on the street, you’d be rich! Yet it’s free, healthy and always available. It’s endorphins. These are hormones that trigger opiate receptors in your brain, setting off a high that can’t be beaten. Don’t be intimidated! Those of us not accustomed to an organised workout routine spend our lives talking ourselves out of joining a gym because we think exercise would be too taxing on our energy levels for the day. The first time you get that endorphin rush is like a bolt from the blue! Oh, people talk about it. The people in the totally appropriate workout wear, the ones who know their way around all the equipment, and who look so at home on the cross-trainer, maintaining their composure and keeping a steady rhythm. We who not only skip a beat but don’t know how to turn the rotten things on in the first place scoff at the notion of a rush from exercise. Surely working out is going to make us useless for the rest of the day, we guess. Wrong! Up the ante Personal trainers insist that if you’re not experiencing a rush after a workout, then you’re not doing it to an appropriate level. Sounds like a whole lot of hard work to us inexperienced types. But, we wonder, could they be right?

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