Runner’s High: The Science Behind The Euphoric Feeling

By Peter C

Runner’s high is a common term among athletes and is often used to describe the euphoria some runners experience during or after a run. However, this means many things to different people; while some consider it a feeling of peace and oneness, others believe it has spiritual connotations.

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The release of endorphins has been researched as one of the major causes of runner’s high. These hormones act as neurotransmitters, helping the body to activate opiate receptors. The effect is that they end up creating an analgesic effect that numbs the body to pain and produces a euphoric feeling.

As said earlier, endorphins are not the only factor that may contribute to a runner’s high.

For instance, a 2015 study found another probable cause of runner’s high in athletes. The findings showed that running also helps produce the body’s endocannabinoid system. The chemicals stimulated by this system may contribute to the feeling of peace and oneness that some runners experience.

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In addition to endorphins and endocannabinoids, the concept of flow state may also play a role in runner’s high. When you’re in the zone (flow state), you’re in a highly focused mental state whenever you’re trying out an activity.

Surprisingly, this happens without much effort from such an individual. Also, a similar feeling has been observed in musicians and artists. If a runner can enter a flow state during a run, it could contribute to the feeling of a runner’s high.

Furthermore, another interesting reason for this feeling is the belief that one is experiencing runner’s high. According to social psychology, perception shapes reality. When people experience a special feeling such as this, it can affect their actions and interpretation of events that produce the feeling.

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In other words, the belief that one is experiencing runner’s high may make it a reality for that individual.

In conclusion, the exact cause of runner’s high is still not fully understood. However, a combination of factors, including the release of endorphins and endocannabinoids, the concept of flow state, and the belief that one is experiencing runner’s high, all play a role in the phenomenon.