The “High” In Runner’s High Is Real, Science Says

man running beach
Your left foot pounds the ground, soon to be replaced by your right foot. Your heart is racing. Your arms are swinging back and forth, one after the other in a continuous motion. You’re pretty sure you look like a cartoon character. You have no clue how long you’ve been running, but you know you are on your third lap on the track. Well, four laps equal a mile.

Almost a mile? No wonder I’m so tired. But will I make it? My body just wants to fall; I could just lay out on this track!….Wait. What is this I feel? Why is it getting easier? It’s almost as if my body is going into auto-pilot. It feels like I’m floating. I’ll reach a mile with no problem!

Have you ever experienced that? That said feeling is what the athletic and science communities refer to as “runner’s high”.

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I remember having a personal experience with “runner’s high”. I was running on the University of Chicago track. I was on my third lap, almost 3/4 of a mile, so naturally I was slowing down. I wanted to make a mile; that was my goal. I began to notice how tired I was since I had not run for that distance since i could remember. I started to doubt myself. I distinctly remember almost giving up. At my quitting point something snapped in my head that gave me a burst of energy.

I picked my feet up, breathed deeply and kept pushing. In fact, it felt like some supernatural force was pushing me. I felt like something else was in control. To end the story, I ended running two more laps without stopping! That was runners high.

This feeling of euphoria has baffled scientists overtime. For a while, there was debate on how it is caused and whether or not existed to begin with. Regardless, athletes have always been familiar with the feeling, which is activated at different milestones of exercise and with different intensities per individual.