Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Runner's High

The elusive runner's high.  I've heard people talk about it but what exactly is it?  And does it actually exist?  Supposedly, there are reports of people who admit to experiencing it.  But let's be honest...have you or anyone you know personally felt it?  It's like hearing about someone who knew someone whose cousin's friend met Brad Pitt.  Did it actually happen?

I know one things for sure: this dog is definitely feeling the runner's high.

Endocannabinoids are brain chemicals that indicate increased pleasure.  Several studies have linked an increase in the level of endocannabinoids after prolonged running.  One study from the Georgia Institute of Technology (2003) found that 50 minutes of hard running on a treadmill or biking on a stationary bike significantly increased the levels of endocannabinoids in college students.

Another study from the University of Arizona measured these chemicals in people before and after running on the treadmill.  The results showed that humans showed a significant increase in endocannabinoids after high-intensity endurance workouts.  These researchers concluded that the neurobiological "reward" people get from endurance exercise is what drives people to continue to run.

Researchers say that here are two factors that influence the release of endocannabinoids: duration and intensity.  If you are increasing and changing one of these factors, but still do not experience that high, try adjusting the other.

So there's hope!

Have I ever gotten the runner's high? Nope.  Do I think that I will?  Who knows.  However, running does put me in a good mood.  It also gives me goals to work towards and accomplish.  That sense of accomplishment or the good mood I experience when my run or race is done is enough for me.

Question: Have you ever experienced a runner's high? If so...tell me about it!

1 comment:

  1. this is really interesting! i'm still searching for that elusive runner's high...maybe i'll find it on my run today :)