Cardio Exercise: What Is the Runner’s High?

Cardio Exercise: What Is the Runner’s High?


If you are around people who are into long-distance running, then you may have heard of the idea of “the runner’s high”. A lot of people have heard of this concept, but most really can’t explain what it is. You may even have experienced it without realizing! Here’s a guide to what it really is and how you can make it happen.

What does runner’s high mean exactly?

Although running isn’t always seen as a particularly strenuous exercise, at least when compared to exercises like weightlifting, the truth is that long-distance running puts a tremendous amount of strain on your body. During a long-distance run, all the muscles in your legs, calves, and even the muscles in other parts of your body get a massive workout. This is not only tiring but also painful. People who first start out long-distance running usually experience lots of aches and pains after their first few sessions.

This is where the runner’s high comes in. See, your body is smart and very adaptive. It can recognize that running long distances is taxing on the body. At the same time, it also recognizes the importance of being able to run long distances. So, your brain comes up with a very simple solution to help you deal with the pain: chemicals.

A runner’s high is when your brain is flooded with a mixture of various chemicals, including endorphins. These chemicals do two things. First off, they help dull the pain you feel while running. Secondly, they produce this sudden rush of energy and good feelings. Even though the term “high” is used, a runner’s high isn’t necessarily close to the sensation the body feels when using drugs. Instead, you feel as though someone has just pumped you full of excess energy. You also just feel good, you feel happy, and you want to carry on running!

How to achieve a runner’s high

A runner’s high requires two things, length, and repetition. You have to exercise for long periods of time, while also doing it regularly. And “long” really does mean long. Achieving a runner’s high with anything less than a few miles worth of continuous running is very difficult. Your body also doesn’t just produce the feelings after one session, you have to regularly exercise in order for the body to start producing the chemicals necessary for the runner’s high.


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