What does Adrenaline do?

What does Adrenaline do to Your Body?

Have your ever felt that exhilarating rush, you know that sensation when you feel all tingly throughout your body, you breathe deeply, your mind gains clarity and you just know that you’re ready. Whether you’re ready to run like the runner at the battle of Marathon, or ready to fight like Leonidas himself, adrenaline will make sure your body does whatever it takes for you to stay alive. Here is what adrenaline does to your body and how you can utilize it for top performance in the gym, and life in general.

The fight or flight response

Adrenaline is released in sudden, stressful situations in preparation for the “fight or flight” response by the medulla of the adrenaline gland located just above your kidneys. These stressful situations can be immediate danger, exhilaration and fear, demanding instant action and reaction.

Numerous metabolic changes take place when adrenaline is released into your bloodstream, as adrenaline binds to a variety of adrenergic receptors, causing increased heart rate, blood pressure, and expansion of the airways.

Your pupils are dilated so that more light can pass through the retina, allowing you to acquire a better sense of your surroundings; increased amounts of oxygenated blood make their way to your muscles and brain, while your body starts optimizing glucose levels for top performance and increased energy output.

Essentially, you become a beast. Your pain receptors dull out and you’re able to withstand enormous amounts of physical abuse, hence the extraordinary tales of people pulling victims out of cars by picking the vehicle up with their bare hands or running through fire and smoke to save a life without flinching. However, no matter how much you might feel like a superhero at that particular moment, your actions whilst under the influence of adrenaline can have serious consequences.

The possible dangers of adrenaline

For the sake of clarification, adrenaline is good for you and a healthy body will be able to produce elevated levels of adrenaline in response to a stressful situation. Additionally, excessive or low adrenaline levels are extremely rare and they would exude a myriad of health conditions.

On a more realistic note, adrenaline can pose risks for your physical and mental health due to inadequate conduct whilst under its influence. The immediate inability to sense pain, as well as the elevated strength levels and resilience, although beneficial, do not mean that your adrenaline levels will not return to normal. This is where serious internal damage can occur.

Simply put, just because you won the fight, or lifted a car or have run ten miles in one breath, does not mean that you don’t have internal damage from taking a punch, or that you haven’t shattered your knees while lifting, or pushed your heart too much. Always exercise safety as much as you can.

Utilizing adrenaline for top performance and safety

That being said, adrenaline, when utilized optimally, can boast a myriad of benefits for your physical and mental health. Not only can you utilize adrenaline for top performance in the gym, but by spiking your adrenaline levels intentionally, you can also learn to control it and use it to your advantage in everyday life.

Have you ever seen strongmen or powerlifters “psyching” themselves up before a big lift? This is not because they want to grab everyone’s attention in the room, it’s because they are increasing their adrenaline levels - they are scared and they are excited at the same time. A slap across the cheek coupled with a pound on the chest and a scream from the top of your lungs can do wonders for your PR, however you mustn’t forget to exercise caution.

The best way to learn to control your adrenaline levels is to expose yourself to adrenaline-inducing situations regularly. However, don’t do anything stupid, rather go on a rollercoaster ride or on a thrilling indoor zip line or anything that will safely get your blood pumping and your heart racing. You will learn how to calm down, stay safe, and use the adrenaline to benefit your fitness life and your daily routine as well.

Learning the benefits of, and how to control adrenaline is not only imperative for adults, but for children as well. Teaching your child how to behave during stressful or frightening situations will pave the road towards a calm, brave, and mindful adulthood, so it’s best to bring the entire family along on your adventures.

Adrenaline can be a powerful tool with which you can reach your personal goals, and even save someone’s life if need be. Learn how to control it and you will ensure a happy and prosperous future.

Author: Samantha Olivier

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