The hormones released during exercise are called endorphins. Endorphins act as pain inhibitors and offer a sense of well-being or euphoria, similar to the effect of morphine, according to experts at WebMD.
Upon physical stimulation, human bodies produce endorphins in the brain, spinal cord and other regions. These natural hormones work in conjunction with receptors in the brain to lessen feelings of pain and produce pleasant feelings. The neurotransmitters that receive endorphins are the same that form bonds with pain medications. However, endorphins, unlike some pain medications, do not create addiction or dependency, notes WebMD.
The release of endorphins creates short-term benefits by improving moods and generating a feeling of happiness. Regular exercise, which subsequently triggers regular production of endorphins, may also alleviate depression.
For optimal endorphin production, participation in several forms of moderate exercise is recommended. Popular activities include biking, running, swimming, playing tennis, walking, dancing and gardening. Other activities, such as housework and yard work also classify as moderate forms of exercise, and may trigger the release of endorphins.
In addition to improving mood and mental health, exercise produces physical benefits such as improving sleep, reducing blood pressure, controlling weight and boosting energy levels. Exercise also improves heart health and even self esteem, as peoples' bodies change to more toned and muscular shapes after starting exercise routines.