Adrenalina: Qué es y Cómo cómo afecta al cerebro durante y después de hacer deporte


Adrenaline: What it is and how it affects the brain during and after sports

Have you ever felt that your chest fills with energy, you breathe quickly but deeply, your body begins to tremble, a shiver runs through you from top to bottom and you find it difficult to compose yourself from a feeling of euphoria, happiness and fear at times , very intense? If your answer is yes, then you have experienced a book adrenaline rush. The situations in which you may have felt this “adrenaline rush” are very varied; It may have been triggered while you were facing a complicated situation, which caused you insecurity or fear, and even seeing the free fall that awaited you while riding a roller coaster, in a sports competition, practicing an extreme sport or simply exceeding your limits while training.

In today's post we tell you everything you need to know to familiarize yourself with this versatile and peculiar hormone: adrenaline.

What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline is a hormone our body turns to when it needs to manage certain bodily processes.It circulates through the blood to reach different areas of the body and fulfill its task, which is summed up in helping us to be alert and activated in some situations. It also functions as a neurotransmitter, which means that it acts as an intermediary in communication between neurons, alerting them to situations in which a quick reaction is required, both physically and mentally.

Adrenaline also prepares us to get the most out of our muscles when we need to reach a certain speed, either because of the danger we are in at a certain moment, or because we find ourselves in situations where everything depends on us to win or lose something.However, it is good to keep in mind that adrenaline does not block pain receptors, but it does help us focus the body's energy and resources on flight or fight, paying attention to the sensation of pain.

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, has an average activity time of two minutes and its effects can last up to an hour. The name of the hormone comes from the Latin “ad y renes”, which means “next to the kidney”, which explains where adrenaline is produced; in the adrenal glands.

Effects of adrenaline on us

Adrenalina: Qué es y cómo afecta al cerebro durante y después de hacer deporte

Advances in science and medicine have made it possible for adrenaline to be synthesized to create drugs, which are given to patients in cases of medical emergencies. It is delivered through injection, and it has different uses; It can be used in cases of anaphylactic shock, in situations of cardiac arrest to stimulate the heart and blood circulation, or as a complement to anesthesia, since it prolongs its effect. This proves the importance and necessity of this hormone in our body, which, among others, has these effects on us:

What are the physical effects of adrenaline?

Adrenaline causes the pupils to dilate in order for our eyes to receive more light. Our visibility will be clearer and we will be more aware of what is around us.

It favors the increase in blood pressure: the blood is concentrated in attending to the vital organs, and reduces its presence in the blood vessels closest to the skin, which contract.

Mobilizes energy from ATP and increases the metabolism of glycogen, which is the form in which energy is stored. Glycogen breaks down and generates glucose, which is the energy our body needs, as it provides the necessary fuel to react to a stressful situation.

Increases the heart rate so that all the energy sources available to us can quickly reach our body.

What are the psychological effects of adrenaline?

The most obvious consequence of adrenaline is that it causes us a feeling of euphoria and happiness. For this reason, it is recommended that people who are experiencing a complicated stage or suffer from depression or anxiety practice sports or activities that help release this substance.

Increases our ability to quickly activate alertness.

Starts the stimulation of the innate survival mechanisms and the defense mechanism.

Adrenaline allows rapid physical and mental reactions in stressful situations.

Increases self-esteem and self-esteem. Overcoming a challenge or reaching an objective can be the incentives that lead us to want to achieve more. By improving our skills, we send a message to our brain that we are capable of managing adverse situations.

What does adrenaline give us once the physical exercise is over?

Adrenalina: Qué es y cómo afecta al cerebro durante y después de hacer deporte - parapente

The influence of adrenaline in sport is powerful, because despite having different organic effects, it manifests itself subjectively depending on the intensity with which we live the activity and the emotion it transmits to us, whether it is momentary or high-impact or prolonged and sustained. The human body is capable of using different types of hormones and preparing the body at a physiological level depending on the situation it is in and the sport it is doing.

In sports such as running or cycling, which require great physical and psychological efforts over a long period of time, adrenaline tends to shoot up at specific times; for example, when a circuit is completed, a race is won, or an obstacle is overcome. In these endurance activities, you need to keep the adrenaline under control, and in specific events such as the starting gun in a sprint race, or overtaking a pack of athletes and placing yourself first, allow the adrenaline to release.

On the other hand, through extreme or risky sports, a quick and longer discharge of adrenaline is sought. These explosive practices generate very strong sensations in short periods of time and activate different hormones that are responsible for generating pleasure and well-being.

Practicing sports makes us feel alive. When we do adventurous activities or that make us leave our comfort zone, we are daring to face specific situations that force the mind to fully focus on the now and on what the body is experiencing, since any mistake can become in an accident due to the risk involved in the activity. Although adventure sports often do not pose any real risk and everything is under control, the mind interprets that there is danger nearby and activates.

The emotions that are experienced while practicing an extreme or adventure sport are very intense: fear, joy, surprise…

What are the sports that generate the most adrenaline?

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Many activities without necessarily being sports make our body generate high doses of adrenaline; however, it is in extreme sports that the adrenal glands release the most adrenaline. Among these, the most likely to offer adrenaline rush are:

Skydiving: It is no surprise to learn that jumping from an airplane and letting yourself fall into the void for more than a minute until the parachute opens and you land on solid ground is a sport that gives you a constant sense of freedom and excitement ; adrenaline rush effects.

Base jumping: This sport is a cousin of skydiving, varying the starting point; in base jumping it consists of jumping from a skyscraper or a mountain instead of from an airplane. You can simply jump and land, or put on a special suit and fly like a bird a few meters from the mountain. This is considered the most dangerous extreme sport due to the closeness to the ground with which it is flown and the high speed that is reached. Of course, the adrenaline is more than assured.

Mountaineering: The The fact of going up the mountain on marked trails is by no means the biggest trigger for the release of adrenaline, but overcoming the difficulties that can be found along the way caused by the natural environment, ungovernable and unpredictable at times, or looking at around you when you've reached the top and seeing how tiny everything looks from above and how far away the trailhead is are big triggers for this hormone.

Heliskiing: This sport consists of jumping from a helicopter that is placed just at the beginning of the descent of a ski slope. The helicopter performs more or less the function of a chairlift or tow, with the difference that it includes the risk of falling in the jump, of suffering a blow when rushing over steep areas or of the helicopter causing avalanches caused by the air currents that generate. These are the situations that cause the shot of adrenaline in the body.

Bungee jumping: It is probably the activity that releases the most adrenaline. Its duration is extremely short, but during the jump into the void, the discharge of the hormone is very high.

Slackline: To practice this sport you need to hold a ribbon or slackline at two separate points and walk on it, going from one end to the other without losing your balance. The higher the rope and the riskier the trail, the greater the adrenaline rush.

Another activity that can produce adrenaline, although at a lower level, is watching horror movies or roller coasters.

What are the disadvantages of adrenaline?

Slackline Adrenalina - Qué es y cómo afecta al cerebro durante y después de hacer deporte

Although adrenaline has tremendously positive effects on our mind and body and makes us feel really good, an abuse in the search and pursuit of adrenaline can also be accompanied by some mental disadvantages, such as the development of diseases among which we highlight chronic stress, headaches or anxiety. Care should be taken with becoming an adrenaline junkie as the lack of this euphoric substance can lead to physical withdrawal, which means that it can cause pain, nausea or hyperactivation of the nervous system. When we are in a situation of adrenaline our body shows the following sensations:

  1. Increased blood pumping
  2. Dilated pupils
  3. Blood glucose levels rise
  4. Increased blood pressure
  5. Dopamine and serotonin, the so-called happiness hormones, are produced.

Another risk of adrenaline is getting addicted to it. The sensation of pleasure that is generated when this hormone is secreted can lead to Pontius Syndrome, through which the perception of danger is completely distorted. Those who suffer from this syndrome live high-risk activities as normal, endangering their lives.

“Your body is in survival mode, and 99.9% of the time, you're not really in a life-or-death situation,” explains Graham Betchart, a mental skills coach. “You might be having a conversation with someone you work with, and all of a sudden, you're in this very limited and primal state of thinking,” said employees of the venture capital firm True Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. You're basically dealing with old instincts."

Adrenaline is a sensation that undoubtedly leads us to a state of happiness and intensity that we can get hooked on, so it is important not to abuse or lose our minds. Simply to be able to continue enjoying extreme sports in the healthiest and most fun way.

Adrenaline, as you have seen, is a tool that can sometimes save our lives, that is used in life or death situations, that makes us feel alive, happy and unstoppable, but that we have to know how to use. As in the rest of our lives, everything in excess is bad. We must know our limits and enjoy everything we can until we reach them. So, if you've been a little stressed lately or need to experience full mental freedom, now you know how to release adrenaline to the fullest!