The Runner’s High, Part 2

March 28, 2008 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment


For a little more science to today’s earlier post about the runner’s high, check out “Yes, Running Can Make You High” in the NYT.

Some notes and quotes:

The runner’s high: Every athlete has heard of it, most seem to believe in it and many say they have experienced it. But for years scientists have reserved judgment because no rigorous test confirmed its existence.

Yes, some people reported that they felt so good when they exercised that it was as if they had taken mood-altering drugs. But was that feeling real or just a delusion? And even if it was real, what was the feeling supposed to be, and what caused it?

It turns out, the runner’s high is real — it’s not just in your head. Rather, it is in your head: Exercise increases the number of endorphins that you body produces, which gather in the brain and can lead to substantial mood changes. But it is “not just a New Agey excuse [of athletes] for their claims of feeling good after a hard workout.”

The study, done by neuroscience researchers in Germany and published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, “offers [athletes] a sort of vindication” — we aren’t crazy when we say running makes us feel good! Further:

The results are opening a new chapter in exercise science. They show that it is possible to define and measure the runner’s high and that it should be possible to figure out what brings it on. They even offer hope for those who do not enjoy exercise but do it anyway. These exercisers might learn techniques to elicit a feeling that makes working out positively addictive.

Get your endorphin-on!

Play, think…
J.R. Atwood

Entry filed under: play, think. Tags: , , , , , .

The Runner’s High, Part 1 What It Takes: The Agony of Victory

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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