The Science Behind the Runner’s High

a man jumping in the air

Most people have heard of the runner’s high. It’s a state achieved shortly after running and other aerobic exercises, and it feels like a state of general relaxation and ease. Endurance activities, in all of their various forms, help humans achieve this great feeling that is quite sought-after.

The good news is that there’s scientific proof as to why you feel this euphoria after a great workout. Keep reading to learn more about the runner’s high and learn how you can best experience it.

What is the runner’s high?


As stated above, the runner’s high is a general positive feeling people experience after an endurance activity. It’s described specifically as a sense of extreme joy or delight with less anxiety and pain. Generally speaking, when you run, your body is going through a whole host of physical and chemical changes, so the runner’s high is sort of like the aftermath of these various changes going on throughout your body.

What’s the science behind it?


To dive deeper into exactly what changes are going on throughout your body’s systems, you must break down the various changes happening. One of the most significant developments happening is that your body has a reward system made up of something called endocannabinoids. When these endocannabinoid neurotransmitters are activated during a run, it produces a neurobiological reward like a sense of well-being, decreased anxiety, and calm.

This endocannabinoid response combined with endorphins, which increase your sense of pleasure and pain relief throughout your body, create an incredible recipe for a runner’s high. Scientifically speaking, the reason for the runner’s high lies with both the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters positively affecting your brain and endorphins boosting your physical sense of well-being.

Follow these measures.


Now that you know all about the runner’s high, you most likely want to experience it for yourself! For starters, make sure you own comfortable active clothing options like active tops and shorts, sports bralettes, and running shoes. This way, you’re prepped for a run while minimizing any discomfort or foot pain you could experience otherwise.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re running on a well-maintained track to ensure you don’t get injured. If the track near you needs some TLC, then read up on this running track repair guide to get all of your repair questions answered. With a little bit of patience, you’ll be able to get the track in shape. Combining your activewear with a solid track is a sure-fire way to experiment with experiencing a runner’s high for yourself.

How does it affect your mood?


While runner’s high is a strong sense of well-being, there are other positive benefits to aerobic exercise as well. More obviously, there are physical health advantages to exercise. Running is beneficial for your cardiovascular health, helps improve back and knee health, and may assist you in maintaining your leg and posterior chain muscles. In addition to the physical benefits, aerobic exercise like jogging or running is shown to promote a bunch of different mental elements in your life too.

Some of these mental benefits include improved cognition, stronger memory, more enhanced creativity, and increased productivity. Plus, since you feel like you’re achieving a goal every time you go out for a run, you’re also tapping into more specific neurotransmitters, like dopamine, which is great for relieving low mood, depression, and anxiety.

It’s safe to say that with all of these incredible benefits and advantages at hand, running or jogging is a smart exercise to add to your routine. With a little bit of time and dedication, you’ll start to notice the benefits and hopefully, achieve that well-deserved runner’s high, too.