Summer Love Science: How Exercise and Endorphins Impact Romance

Tags: love advice, holidays, summer love, exercise, endorphins

Keen Category: Love Advice

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As warm weather becomes the norm, the temperature dictates that we shed clothing and bare skin, which naturally leads to the desire to shed pounds, buff up, and look our best, especially for those in the market for a hot-weather romance. When embarking on any summertime exercise routine, it’s important to take certain precautions, however, because an increase in the heat index also ups the chance for dehydration, and while partaking of some UV rays can have health and other added sensual benefits, over-exposure to the sun’s charms can lead to detrimental consequences.

That’s why summertime exercise calls for several specific caveats:

• Drink plenty of water and consider adding a sports drink with electrolytes to your routine to stay hydrated.

• Scale back the intensity of your workout (60-70 percent of normal exertion will get you similar results since heat raises the heart rate).

• Time your workout for early morning or late evening when the temperatures are likely to be less punishing.

• Wear the right gear. Go for workout wear that wicks moisture, and ideally, blocks UV rays. Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses should complete your summer exercise ensemble.

• Build up or break down. The human body needs to acclimate to the combination of increased temperature and increased exertion, so start slow and build up to a routine you can maintain comfortably.

Body Chemistry Heats Up

Now, if all that has given you pause, and you’re considering slacking off on your warm-weather workout, we should mention that in addition to trimming the physique and toning the muscles--which may heighten your attraction quotient--there’s one added benefit of exercise that may make the whole thing even more worthwhile: endorphins.

When we exercise, the body releases endorphins, which serve as natural communication facilitators that are able to leap the gaps that exist between our neurons and relay those oh-so-important signals up the line to the pleasure centers of the brain, creating feelings of euphoria and general well-being. That’s because the human body is wired to release natural opiates when exposed to specific sensual stimuli via a gland called the hypothalamus. Depending on the stimulus--be it a painful or pleasurable one--this remarkable gland puts out a call for endorphins to create the appropriate response, either blocking the pain, or releasing the bliss.

For exercise to put endorphin production into motion, however, the body must reach what’s called an “anaerobic state.” Think of it as a question of supply and demand. When you’re exercising aerobically, your muscles demand oxygen, which the body is able to supply. When you reach an anaerobic state, your muscles still need oxygen, but there is no longer enough to go around. The result is what’s often referred to as a “runner’s high,” which is the body’s attempt to alleviate unpleasant sensations that oxygen deprivation causes by creating a sensation of euphoria.

Why Flirting Feels Good

So, now we know that exercise can release Cupid’s arrows, but did you know that flirting with a stranger can also function as a catalyst to endorphin release? It seems that the rush you get from talking to someone exciting and unknown sets the body’s pleasure cycle in motion as well. Even if you never take the flirtation any further, the sweet thrill of the chase just makes you feel good physically as well as mentally. Since the summertime presents numerous occasions to flirt--like after-work get togethers, daytime picnics or movies and music under the stars--you’re likely to have lots of chances to test this science out for yourself.

Of course, if you really want to take this endorphin thing to a whole new level, you could always try flirting during your workout. Sure, there’s nothing new about dating someone you meet at the gym or the running track, but what could be more conducive to romance than the blissful feeling of getting “high” on the double-dose of natural joy?

 

If you’re ready to release the feel-good feelings of summer, but want some advice on where your flirting will really count, a KEEN advisor can help put you in the right place at the right time.

 

Click to See Our Infographic on the Science of Summer Love