The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

So When Do The Endorphins Kick In?

It’s quite amazing how much of an incline flat roads appear to have when you’re cycling. Roads I have driven on, even walked along, which I was convinced were nothing but 100% horizontal have turned out to be bumpy, uneven, full of potholes, drain covers and manholes, and are always either uphill or downhill.

My last bike had 3 gears, which was considered quite advanced technology in my youth. This one has 3 on the left handle and 6 on the right and I think it’s as basic as they come these days. At least half the energy I expended this morning went on trying to figure out how to use them without changing gear every 2 seconds.

Still, at least this time out I was sensible enough to plan my route so that the majority of the outward journey was up the flat road and the return was mostly downhill.

Despite being breathless as I wheeled the bike through the gate, I began to think perhaps it wasn’t too bad after all. As I locked the shed and returned to the house however, I was suddenly overcome with tiredness; I stepped in through the door and was hit with a wave of exhaustion; I struggled to get my shoes and bike helmet off, flopped onto the sofa and the room began to spin.

It took half an hour and a strong cup of coffee to recover a vague semblance of normality, and finally be able to answer Maggie’s question of how far I’d travelled on my quest to push my body to the limit and test the boundaries of human endurance. I was able to boast that in the 20 minutes I was away I’d covered a little over TWO miles.

Every doctor, health advisor, fitness magazine, video or TV programme insists that exercise is good for you. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to equate the experience with the faith.


Taihae said...

endorphins are elusive little molecules. i'm a bit of a gym addict and hardly get a peek at the little buggers. ive got an old touring 8 speed bike where the gears are, get this, UNDER THE SEAT, on that bar that connects the seat to the front wheel. needless to say, learning to change gears was a wee bit wobbly.

BStrong said...

Ok, you unintentionally cracked me up. They way the post was reading “I was sensible enough to plan my route….” I thought you were going to be out riding for at least an hour or two. I would imagine that you have to ride a bit longer for the endorphins to kick in. Keep it going Kim you’ll get there.

Kim Ayres said...

Taihae - welcome to my ramblings!

I can't imagine a more awkward place for gear changes than under the seat - bizarre!

BStrong - unintentionally? - thanks for giving me credit for trying to write an amusing post...

kats said...

They kick in when the dog puts a stick through the front wheel

Kim Ayres said...

One of several reason's I'll never own a dog!

Anonymous said...

You get endorphin release from exercise? I thought that was just sex...

Kim Ayres said...

If you do enough exercise, apparently the endorphin rush is quite addictive, so I'm told. I don't think I've ever done enough to find out the truth of it.

fancy-face said...

ok, I have to ask because I'm not familiar with that expression, what's a "Endorphin"???
Oh and by the way, your last comment on my friend Quinn's blog,I find was very well spoken, it's been along time that I have been telling her that..if we have time ok..if not well we don't write to please other people..we write for us...thanks for being a good blogger friend to her.
And just for the record, my stepdad comes from Aberdeen Scotland..and yes I've eaten haggis,(his recipe was delicious)my stepdad gets homesick when he hears the pipes playing, Ican see it in his of these days if ever I can afford it, I would love to be able to send him back to the "Old Country" for a visit....

jotcr2 said...

Persistance is the key. You have to run a lot before you will ever get runner's high. I've had it (back in my marathon/triathlon years), and it is fantastic. Completely worth the effort (eventually).

Dr Maroon said...

I was tempted to leave you alone to find out for yourself but I find I can’t. (Well what a surprise.)
All the above commenters are correct. Prakktiss Praktisss.

1 ensure you are not wearing too many clothes. You get hot quick when cycling.
2 you must WARM / LOOSEN up BEFORE you go out to the shed. Especially legs ankles wrists.
3 Cadence. This is the rate your little feet go round and round. Aim to keep this at a constant rate no matter how fast the bike’s going.
4 you accomplish a comfortable cadence with the gears
5 Gears. The lowest six gears are for mountain type shit so you will not need them. Select the middle range gear on the left and leave it there for the next year. That leaves you the six gears on the right. Put it in third and cycle along a flat road. That is your cadence. Go up or down the six midrange gears as the terrain dictates.
6 You may have to GET OFF AND WALK up some inclines. Do not be embarrassed. You don’t have the time. You will find that VERY soon you will get used to even quite steep inclines. Even as a 40 year old.
7. Time your trips. 9.30 to 11.30am is a good time for the roads. Rushhour is past, the light’s better and drivers are a bit more alert.
8 two hours out on the tarmac every second day minimum. Even if you’re walking getting your breath, pushing the bike for half the time. A half hour on the days in between. Don’t take repair kits, just take a phone. (perhaps take the most basic multi spanner to adjust the saddle or tighten handlebars)
9 plan a circuit of about 5/6 miles. If you’re back too soon, don’t be tempted to stop, do it again.
10 put a drinks holder on the bike. Don’t drink on the move until you get used to it. Stop to have a drink. Plain water is best.

Or, lightly spray the bike with WD40 except the wheels and brakes, cover with some sheeting, and store until your boy is old enough for it and give it to him for his Christmas.

NO PAIN NO GAIN. There isn’t really that much pain actually, which you will see once you’ve been out on it a few times, IF you can get over being embarrassed at the imaginary opinions of people you don’t know and who don’t know you. The main thing is traffic, and women drivers in particular who will not give you room while overtaking or slow down. Arseholes.

Dr Maroon said...

Kim Ayres said...

Fancy-Face - Endorphins are the bodies natural chemicals which, like opiates, can act as pain killers or even create a sense of euphoria. It is said that if you exercise strenously enough, then you will get an endorphin rush, which is a great feeling.

Perhaps your stepdad should take a trip to Nova Scotia as they have highland games, folk festivals and more bagpipes than you can throw a kilt at.

Jo - just looking at the words marathon/triathlon make me feel tired.

Dr Maroon - 2 hours!!! - You have got to be kidding me! Perhaps it's time to get the plastic sheeting and the WD40.

That's the major problem with fit - or ex-fit - people. No understanding of what it's like for the never-fit. Where's the encouragement for gentle build up?

Dr Maroon said...

I can’t keep quiet. Maan, yeh are sich a Jessie.

Endorphins can be much more subtle. I think the aim is simply to increase one’s background level. Any euphoric high, we will take as an unexpected bonus. Nb coffee and booze wash them out your system. You are dead right about “ex-fit“ though.

I may be forced to bring The Scot out into the daylight.

Two Hours on a bike is damn all. It’s duration, not exertion that’s the important thing.
Wrap up and take a gentle walk for an hour or two, a saunter, take a camera, walk to the coast and back, do it today! You’ll cover quite a distance without dropping dead from ague. The same is true of cycling once you get the hang of it. You forget about the bike.
It’s like driving, you operate the controls without thinking about each individual action. It gets easier when you don’t have to think.
Just going out on it, you will quickly find a comfortable balance and INCREDIBLY soon, you will get up hills that you wouldn’t have believed. Honestly.

Kim Ayres said...

but it's raining...

Changing the subject for a moment - do you never check your email, or have you given up on the idea you raised?

Conan Drumm said...

Hi Kim, the good Herr Doktor Maroon has done the full schmozzle and is right, except about the working your way into it. Give yourself the same amount of time each day and aim to get a little farther each day in that time. You should also be checking your heart's recovery rate which is the true indication of fitness.
ie measure your heart rate when 'at rest'... measure it before your excercise... measure it immediately after you finish (when it should be running high, and before you do a cool down routine) ... and then measure it when you're resting once more. As you get fitter you should notice two gradual changes. Your heart rate 'at rest' should drop (and your heart rate when mid-excercise may drop) but, above all, the time taken for your heart rate to drop to your 'at rest' rate should shorten.
Be very careful to warm up properly (15-20mins) and take good care of your joints, cycling can be hard on the hips, knees and ankles. Also be very careful if your back gives you or has ever given you any trouble. And be sure to do a good cool down routine after.
Getting fit if you never have been fit is a long, slow process and might be best attempted under the guidance of a trainer or physiotherapist!
I used to cycle to work for several years and because I was often in heavy traffic I got the worst road rage I've ever experienced.
Good luck

Conan Drumm said...

ps... I would do 6miles up hill in about half an hour and wasn't really fit

Dr Maroon said...

Put on a mac. You’re not made of sugar.
Check it every day now. I read them, cheers.
I’m thinking.
Wouldn’t mind a walk in the country myself, actually. Blow away some cobwebs.

Dr Maroon said...



Conan Drumm has just made my day!

I may well be able to send you something now. Won't be tonight or tommorrow (real life impingements), but soon.

HA HA. I love it when I'm right! [ALWAYS]

Kim Ayres said...

Conan Drumm - welcome to my rambings.

You almost had me there. I was reading and nodding, and the slightest flickers of belief were beginning to form. But then you blew it with your uphill cycling stuff and I withdrew into my shell of insecurity, fear and laziness.

Dr Maroon - come down this way for a visit and we can go for pleasant walk (there are lots of nice places round here) followed by a large lunch and a nap

Conan Drumm said...

Kim, honest, I was about two stone overweight, it was road rage made me do it!

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