Most of us have heard that exercise does a lot more than just burn calories. It can also promote a good cardiovascular system, increase muscle mass, raise the rate of our metabolism and boost your endorphins. Exercise is often prescribed to fight anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
When trying to boost your endorphins, researchers at the University of Turku have concluded there is a specific type of exercise to focus on. According to the study conducted at Turku PET Center, high-intensity interval training — HIIT — is the best for increasing the amount of opioid peptides in your brain, which boosts your endorphin release.
Increased levels of opioid peptides and endorphins in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions means a better mood. Researchers even believe that consistent endorphin release during exercise is an important mechanism in supporting exercise motivation and maintenance. So the more HIIT exercises you do, the more you’ll want to keep doing them.
If you’re wondering how to work out using the HIIT method and what routines work best, here are five exercises that are sure to boost your endorphins and get your heart pumping.
1. The Box Jump
You may be wondering how to work out using the HIIT method. High-intensity interval training means a concentrated interval of hard exercise followed by an interval of rest, verses one long interval of moderate- to low-intensity exercise.
The box jump works your whole body, being a nearly full hip extension as you jump into the air and use your arms to tap your knees while you’re elevated. This exercise is great for increasing your endorphin levels because of its high intensity and concentrated engagement.
Biking engages your core and legs in a unique way, and can be intensified by adding weight to your petals and increasing the incline on your machine. If biking through a residential area, challenge yourself to tackle hills and harder terrain to make the most of your HIIT exercise and to produce the most endorphins.
3. Kettle Bell Swing
If you’ve never tried a kettle bell, now is definitely the time. Try crunching while holding a kettle bell between your legs and swinging it up when you extend your legs. You are not only working your thighs and glutes during your squat, but you are also engaging your core, arms and caves by keeping your body and the kettle bell balanced.
There are lots of other exercises to try using a kettle bell too, so feel free to get creative and find the one you think challenges you the most.
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4. Man Makers
A three-step, highly engaged exercise, if man makers don’t make you grow hair on your chest, nothing will. They are an awesome candidate for doing high\-intensity circuits with intervals of rest in the middle.
First, you begin in a pushup position holding two weights in your hands. Row one arm at a time and then perform a pushup. Jump to your feet in a squatting position, and then raise the weights above your head and push your body to stand up straight in the final position.
While running long distances at a consistent speed may sound like a total bore and waste of time, sprinting multiplies the amount of endorphins you produce and is even entertaining and more engaging to do.
When sprinting, run at a fast speed that does not compromise running form for 30 seconds. Then, straighten up and walk for 30 seconds and repeat. Your first day you might start out with only 10 reps of this workout, and in a few weeks you might be able to double that amount.
HIIT workout are a great way to improve your fitness level while boosting those endorphins. Give one or all five of these exercises a try and watch your body and mood improve.
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