If you’re an avid runner, chances are you’ve experienced what people call the “runner’s high.” The runner’s high is the euphoric feeling while your running, or after your run when you feel happy and have less anxiety. This sense of accomplishment and “feel good” vibes is based on chemicals that are released within your brain when you do a physical activity such as running or working out. The great thing is that anyone can experience a runner’s high when you exercise. Many people enjoy exercise because of the happiness the natural runner’s high gives them and will push harder on their run or workout.
In the early 1980s, researchers came to the conclusion that the runner’s high was solely based on the release of endorphins to the brain. Studies are now showing that there are other chemicals that release into the brain instead of endorphins during long periods of physical activity. The chemicals that release during your workout are also heavily dependent on your genes and remains different for each person who experiences the feeling.
There are two factors that can bring you to this euphoric state which include the duration and intensity of your workout. It is known that many marathon runners will experience a runner’s high due to the longevity of their training and races. For most, around 20 minutes into your run, you can start to experience the runner’s high. If not, you can always include sprints and running up hills to increase the intensity.
Although the runner’s high is often described as a euphoric experience, it’s not always such a significant change as one may think. Recent studies are showing that the runner’s high is more associated with smaller changes in mood during your exercises and also over time with continued physical activity. The term “flow” is also used when discussing the feeling of a runner’s high because once your body is reaching it’s “flow,” your mind has stopped thinking about everything else other than your run.
A continued positive attitude will assist in reaching that happiness when you run or exercise. Although the runner’s high isn’t as much of a substantial euphoric experience as many people may think, it is still highly regarding for the positivity and happiness we get when we are active.