Runner’s High Proven To Be Real

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Running on my treadmill from FlickrMost runners have experienced positive feelings from running. I know I have. It’s not every run, in fact, it usually only happens about every other week, but sometimes I finish a run and feel better than when I started, despite the effort.

Even though the reports of runner’s high date back dozens of years, scientists have never been able to prove that something physiological was benefiting the mind until now.

Dr. Boecker developed a less painful way to test his hypothesis that runner’s high is caused by opioids. In his study, which appeared in the February issue of Cerebral Cortex, Dr. Boecker injected runners with radioactive isotopes that bind to opioids. Then he PET scanned subjects before and after a two-hour run, finding elevated levels of opioids in the frontolimbic regions of the brain that regulate mood. Opioid levels directly correlated with self-reports of the intensity of euphoria, establishing a clear link from running to opioid release to feeling good.

I miss running. I haven’t run for the last couple of months because I’ve been playing DDR instead. I love playing the dancing game, but reading this article reminded me of how awesome a good run can be, even if it only happens every couple of weeks.


2 Responses to “Runner’s High Proven To Be Real”

  1. Ernie Says:

    I haven’t been able to run in a long time due to a foot injury. I’ve been weary of getting out there again because I didn’t want to injure myself again.

    Yesterday, I was out for a walk with my 4 year old son. After a minute of walking, he looked up at me and said “come on, Daddy, wun!” and started a silly jog that he does. I figured that I’d risk it and I jogged to keep up with him.

    Before I knew it, he was trying to keep up with me. We encouraged each other through our short little jog together. He got me moving again and, when he said that he didn’t think he could keep going, I encouraged him.

    It wasn’t a long jog and I got winded fairly quickly, but wow. Not only was it great to be moving again, but it was great to see my son moving with me. I think I found a new motivation to get out there. And this morning, I don’t have any reoccurence of the injury.

    P.S. – When we got back home, we were talking about our jog together. He said that he wants to go to “jog school”. Very cool.

  2. Nate Atkins Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this post, there is nothing better than having a good jog at any part of the day. I find that it completely revitalizes me and actually gives me more energy. I have also found a big difference in my endurance levels and my ability to lift weights in the gym. In my opinion it’s just something that nobody should go without.

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