So I stumbled across a neat study thought I might as well mention it here. Gave me a thought that i’ll share at the end…
In THIS study they looked at the release and uptake of naturally occurring opioids in the body during medium intensity exercise and HIIT.
The study can mostly be summarized in this sentence, “HIIT significantly decreased μ-opioid receptors (MOR) binding selectively in the frontolimbic regions involved in pain, reward, and emotional processing (thalamus, insula, orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, and anterior cingulate cortex). Decreased binding correlated with increased negative emotionality. Moderate-intensity exercise did not change MOR binding, although increased euphoria correlated with decreased receptor binding.”
So that’s to say that you will feel happier after doing moderate exercise than you will with HIIT. Here’s the kicker though. Science is pretty convince that HIIT is much better for inducing positive change in a lot of markers. To name a few – skeletal muscle and fat loss (study), VO2 max (study), hormone production and mitochondria ability (study). I’m sure there are more to that list too, but that’s not really the point I’m about to make.
Easy exercise makes you happy, tough exercise showed, “increased negative emotionality.”
Easy exercise doesn’t make you very much better (I use “better,” here very broadly because I don’t know what sport you’re into. Better might be more pounds lifted, more muscle development on your body, jumping higher, running farther, ect.)
Tough exercise makes you better but might not make you feel as happy.
Being better however, makes me (and i suspect anyone) VERY happy.
So here’s my thought I told you I would share at the top. If you just want to feel good now, in the short term, i suggest moderate exercise with less return on the long term. If you want to both be better AND be happy, then I suggest putting your nose to grind stone and doing that HIIT that might feel tough right now. I promise though, in time, you’ll then both be happy cause you’re better and ACTUALLY BE BETTER…
Not just coming into the gym, going through the motions, feeling short term happy and repeating.
Push yourself. Do it for future you. That person is begging you to put in the extra work now! I can help!