‘Runner’s high‘ is the term used to refer to the ‘high’ runner’s get after a long period of aerobic exercises like running. The feeling of a runner’s high has been likened to a surge of endorphins that reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness. Research conducted by scientists showed that the runner’s high is when the prefrontal and limbic regions release endorphins. For those who are confused, these are the regions that respond to emotions such as joy and love. The intensity of the ‘high’ is completely dependent on the degree of the surge of endorphins released in these regions. Now, what are the signs of a runners high
A Runner’s high will typically occur after an hour or two of running, and this euphoric feeling can last for up to two miles. A runner’s high can be identified through feelings of joy, euphoria, and a reduction in feelings of pain. We can also relate these feelings to the burst of energy and euphoria that we get after a good workout. Endorphin levels in the blood are spiked during a runner’s high which then leads to the easy identification of the signs we just mentioned.
It is important to note that a runner’s high doesn’t necessarily change much. Of course, it provides euphoric feelings and makes running more enjoyable, but it is not like a drug that gives certain runners an edge over others. Scientists have speculated that what we now refer to as the “runner’s high,’ most likely began when our ancestors would chase after their prey for hours. Back then, the ‘runner’s high’ was the body’s way of giving them that extra boost. Now that we no longer hunt animals for days, the ‘runner’s high’ re-emerged in the sport of running which is quite similar to the actions they performed while chasing prey.
There is no textbook or step-by-step guide on how to achieve a runner’s high. Some runner’s recommend listening to feel-good music while others recommend pushing yourself hard (but not too hard). The path to a runner’s high differs from person to person, and there’s really no way to figure it out until you try.
The runner’s high is so widely talked about in the running community because it reduces stress, anxiety, and sometimes it’s just the push you need to finish your run. A runner’s high can be compared to a zenlike state of being that is sometimes addictive. The zen of a runner’s high occurs after the run is over and the feelings of euphoria have receded leaving behind a bone-deep feeling of peace and calm. The zen of a runner’s high brings feelings of calm, and security. These feelings can help address anxiety, depression as well as stress. The zen of a runner’s high is an out of body experience when everything simply clicks. Your body feels weightless and your mind feels free. Perhaps this is why the runner’s high is so coveted in the running community.