β-Endorphin Response to Endurance Exercise: Relationship to Exercise Dependence

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Abstract

Considerable research has shown significant increases in β-endorphin levels after aerobic activity. These increases and their accompanying euphoric effect have been suggested as a possible psychophysiological mechanism underlying the exercise-dependence syndrome. The relationship between plasma β-endorphin levels and a tendency towards exercise dependence, however, has not been established. To examine this relationship, 8 women trained in aerobic dance completed an exercise-dependence assessment prior to participation in a 45-min. session of continuous aerobic dance. Plasma β-endorphin concentration was measured both prior to and following the aerobics routine. A Student t test for paired observations indicated that mean plasma β-endorphin levels (± SE) were significantly higher after the aerobics routine (11.96 ± 1.3 pg β-EP.ml−1) than preexercise levels (8.62 ± 1.4). However, β-endorphin difference values (% change) were not significantly correlated with scores on the exercise-dependence survey. Those data suggest that scores on exercise dependence are not related to changes in plasma β-endorphin levels after aerobic exercise.

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