Runner's High

Why should I run?

Most people are aware of this ageless term but generally accept it as a mild form of insanity, however; avid runners, and even swimmers, cyclists and weightlifters, have experienced this wonderful euphoria and will stand by it to their grave.  My best description of the runner’s high is a transcendence where pain and even time seem like afterthoughts.  Sometimes my mind can wander about my plans for the next day but usually I become completely absorbed with the current activity.  From a psychological standpoint, it is synonymous with intrinsic motivation where no external rewards are required because the activity itself is rewarding.

What Causes This High?

Next time you see a jogger, politely stop them and ask them what gives them the euphoric feeling from running.  Chances are they will confidently say “endorphins”.  While endorphins produce a relaxing effect upon the body, studies blocking endorphin have revealed no positive correlation.  Similar studies have been performed on norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin with no better results.  

Who Cares?

Millions of mothers across America and the world feed their children multivitamins, vitamin C supplements and other extraneous pills because they are told that they “are good for you”.  Chances are less than 10% of parents understand the physiological processes behind nutrient metabolism and yet they still hand out these small smelly pills habitually.  While the exact cause of runner’s high is unknown, the long term and short term effects outweigh those of an excessive dosage of vitamins, all vitamins and minerals can be attained from a well-balanced diet.  Eating a vitamin gives me no pleasure but attaining that high makes me want to come back for more every day, plus the long-term benefits include reduced body fat, lowered cholesterol and improved cardiovascular functioning and circulation.

When/How Do I Start?

It’s as easy as getting out of your seat and tying your shoes.  All you need is a bit of motivation and perseverance and you will be well on your way to endless euphoria but do not limit yourself to running, especially if you have bad knees.  Any rhythmic movement like swimming, cycling, weightlifting and even jump roping can produce similar effects plus why not aim to improve your general health along the way?  It’s like Nike says, “Just Do It”