Defined Terms

Adrenaline or Epinephrine means a natural stimulant made in the adrenal gland of the kidney.  Biological name is epinephrine, from the Greek nephros for kidney.

Adrenaline is released in response to anxiety, exercise or fear - the basis of the 'fight-or-flight' reaction.  When an animal is threatened, the options are usually either to stand its ground and fight, or run away fast.  Both responses require extra blood and oxygen in the muscles. Fright causes the brain to send signals to the renal glands which start pumping large amounts of adrenalin into the bloodstream increasing the heart and breathing rate in preparation for the ensuing action.

A burst of Adrenaline can assist an athlete push their limits, narrow their focus, and enhance performance.  Intense stimulating exercise, like cycling down a mountain, releases stress hormones, including Adrenaline, and the resulting buzz can buffer future stress in other environments.  The burst of Adrenaline can equip to handle daily frustrations and stresses, thereby using 'Positive Stressors' to fight 'Negative Stressors'.

'Positive Stressors' may come from an abrupt blast of stress from say 1 or 2 below which creates Adrenaline sending a flood of oxygen-rich red blood cells through the body, boosting the immune system, and signalling the brain to release painkilling endorphins by the pituitary gland:

1.         kayaker comes around rounds a bend in the river and suddenly sights a seriously churning rapids; or

2.         mountain biker pedals down a gully to be confronted by a scary little jump onto a seemingly unstable plateau.

Strenuous exercise triggers the pituitary gland releasing endorphins: chemicals that release a feeling of euphoria which block sensations of pain. 

Endorphins are very closely linked to addictions and the word is a mixture of two words:

*         'endogenous' meaning from within the body; and

*         'morphine' a powerful pain fighting drug that is also used and abused for recreational purposes.

The human brain contains its own neuro-chemicals; more potent than heroin, opium and morphine.  Endorphins released under stressful exercise create a 'high'.  Endorphins are also motivational assisting you feel energized for the rest of the day tingly and as if I am floating - refuelling the body both physically and mentally. 

Conversely, 'Negative Stressors', can drag on and on and grind causing adrenal glands to leak a slow, steady stream of another stress hormone: cortisol.  Unlike Adrenaline, which tends to hit instantaneously and then dissipate, cortisol can hang around in the bloodstream, driving up blood pressure, suppressing an immune system, and rendering more susceptible to stress-related ailments, including colds, migraines, and even heart disease and stroke.

Adrenaline possesses important positive powers.  In addition to its performance-enhancing effects, the Adrenaline hormone triggers the release of dopamine and endorphins, two neuro­transmitters that "pump" you.  A rookie skydiver will usually produce a flood of dopamine in their brain's pleasure centre, creating a euphoric high.  Unleashing the inner Daredevil by tackling Challenging rigorous recreational exercise events can invoke these positive powers to experience stress-busting Adrenaline sweeteners.

Three ways to get an Adrenaline fix:

1.  Push your limits.   Don't be content with the hum drum of cycling or jogging around your local 'patch' that you've done lots of times before.  Explore new Challenging routes and events, tackle 'em and conquer 'em.

2.  Incorporate passive exercise.  You can't hammer hard on the bike, or in the kayak, all the time.  Lifting lightish weights can achieve a meditation/therapeutic effect and still taste the Adrenaline fix.  Even though it's low impact, lifting even light weights for a 3 to 5 min set, once or twice a day, can jolt the Adrenaline hormone. Purchase a $20 set of dumbbells from K-Mart and stick 'em on the bedroom floor near your bed so you bump into them regularly.

3.  Exercise with your pals.  Embracing Challenging sporting events in a Common Bond Support Group

*           helps defray any negative toss-in-the-towel inclinations (which might surface if the conditions are tougher or the weather becomes inclement); and

*           keeps you focused on the fun side of exercise. 

A 100km hilly Sunday bike ride may be easy when you are one of a dozen mates who turn up for the scheduled ride.  But completing the same ride, if you are the one of a few attendees on a windy morn', will be a much tougher assignment.  The "One-In, All-In" Common Bond Support Group mentality is a valuable asset, as it is much harder to quit or fall short, unless the group as a whole decides to pull-the-pin due to adverse weather etc.  

Explained in Section 15 and definitions Overdose Human Induced Drug Only and Endorphins.

Some of the above was taken from "Adrenaline on Tap" from Women's Health Magazine reporter Amanda Tust.