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10 Reasons You Want to Get On That Runner’s High
Ah, the runner’s high! You’re hitting the pavement. You feel almost invincible. Any discomfort or pain has dissipated. Your stress has melted away. In fact, you feel good – like really good. Maybe you even feel euphoric or elated.
Undeniably, many runners trample on in search of that runner’s high. And it’s not without reason. Below, we’ve got 10 reasons why you want to chase after that high and get running!
#1. Runner’s High, It’s a Healthy Way to Get High
Literally. The runner’s high is no joke. And it’s not all about endorphins either.
A 2015 study demonstrated how the runner’s high depends on the endocannabinoid system. This is the same system that THC in cannabis acts on.
In fact, researchers didn’t quite understand the physiological processes behind the runner’s high until recently. Many individuals attributed this high solely to endorphins. Yet, endorphins can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier, where the ‘high’ feeling is triggered. They gathered that there had to be something more to it.
A 2017 study further dove into the endocannabinoid system and how it works. These researchers identified three factors that stimulated the endocannabinoid system, including cannabis, exercise, and socialization. Interestingly, low levels of endocannabinoids are linked to loneliness, cannabis withdrawal, and anxiety. Notice a link?
While you may not exactly feel the intense effects of cannabis, undoubtedly, there is a high that happens. Many experts state that this takes place when you’re running or exercising at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. So, go ahead! Chase after that healthy high.
#2. You Gain Various Mental Benefits
Most types of exercise don’t only improve your physical health, but also your mental well-being. With regular exercise, the volume of your hippocampus in your brain increases.
In fact, regular exercise, like running, may have a positive impact on your memory and thinking capabilities. You’re able to focus better and make better decisions. These effects can also come in handy when learning a new skill since you’re able to do so faster and with more ease.
And yes, the runner’s high may partially be behind this! With the effects on your endocannabinoid system and increased levels of endorphins, your body handles stress easier and also becomes more sensitive to pleasure acting on the endocannabinoid system, which can result in even more mental benefits. In other words, you have nothing to lose. It’s definitely time to start hitting the pavement.
#3. You Feel Connected With Your Body
The runner’s high might make you feel invincible. But at the same time, it also helps you connect with your body – something many people lack today.
When you feel good – both mentally and physically – you can become more in-tune with your body and its structures. You can wave goodbye to the stressors of the day and allow only positivity to sweep over you. As a result, you can concentrate on your running form or where your limbs are in space. You become more aware.
Ultimately, this deepens the mind-body connection, which can propel you forward toward a full life with good health.
#4. It May Decrease Social Anxiety
Ever feel a little more chatty after a run?
Interestingly, the way running stimulates the endocannabinoid system also primes us to connect with others. You might feel good being around people – even if you’re usually nervous. You might feel the need to bond with close friends or family.
This is all thanks to the endocannabinoid system. This system may even decrease social anxiety, which, again, allows you to bond and connect with others easier and more naturally.
#5. It Changes Your Brain
But it’s all good stuff.
As previously mentioned, the runner’s high may increase the volume of the hippocampus in the brain which is in charge of learning and memory processes. Experts further theorize that this high increases the number of binding sites in the brain for endocannabinoids. In turn, you may experience more joy – and who doesn’t want that?
#6. It Makes Exercise Easier
When you feel good and less stressed, exercise is just that much easier. It’s undeniable. And no, we don’t exactly have evidence to back this one up. But try it for yourself. The more exercise you do, the easier it becomes.
And when you get on that runner’s high, we guarantee that your run will feel that much better and easier than ever before. If you’re new to running, we’ve got news for you: the runner’s high is truly why runners love running. When you’re chasing a feel-good feeling, exercise is a piece of cake.
#7. It Decreases Pain
Those endorphins are pumping. Your endocannabinoid system is activated. This combination produces the ultimate analgesic effects. And this can be great if you’re trying to go that extra mile.
Although, if you’re injured, you should absolutely take some time off. While you might not feel it as much running, you could be doing serious harm without realizing it. Err on the side of caution!
#8. It Improves Your Mood
After a solid run, you may notice you feel much better than before. The runner’s high is a great mood booster. You’ll likely feel happier and more content after your jog than before.
In fact, experts point their fingers at endorphins for those feel-good vibes you get during and after a run. These chemicals, along with endocannabinoids, are what make you feel great. And they can even help reduce and prevent anxiety and depression.
#9. You Might Be Able to Run Longer and Farther
With a better mood and all those other great effects, you can run longer and farther. Training for that next big race? Are you going farther than you’ve ever gone? The runner’s high will help get you there.
#10. You Feel Like a Superhero
Alright, this one was a bit of a throw-in. But who doesn’t feel like a superhero after a long and good run? The runner’s high can make you feel like nothing can touch you. You’re on another level – hence, feeling a bit like a superhero!
Go Ahead… Chase After That Runner’s High!
You receive so many benefits, including mental and physical ones. Running truly is one of the best aerobic activities out there. With little equipment required, it’s accessible and available for almost anyone.
What did you think of this article? Did we miss anything on the list? How does the runner’s high make you feel? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article if you liked it.