What is a Runner's High?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2019
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Runner’s high is a desirable emotional state that is reached during the activity of jogging or running. Essentially, runners high is an exercise high that is achieved as the physical activity triggers the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. The result is that the runner experiences a sense of euphoria that may be sustained for much of the run.

The good feelings that are known as runner’s high are not strictly limited to runners. Any individual engaging in a sports activity that is continuous may feel this rush of good feeling as the endorphin flow produces this high level of satisfaction. Tennis players are a good example of athletes who are constantly on the move, with little to no periods of rest during a game. Bicyclists can also experience the euphoria that is identified as runner’s high.


This phenomenon is one of the reasons that healthcare professionals often recommend regular and continuous exercise for patients that are dealing with depression or anxiety. The release of endorphins into the bloodstream help to bring on a sense of well being that offers a temporary respite from the chemical imbalances that often are associated with both conditions. In the case of anxiety, the experience of runner’s high may actually help to provide over-sensitized nerves with rest, which can aid in the healing process. At the same time, however, it is usually important to maintain a reasonable level of activity, as too much or too strenuous forms of exercise can actually make anxiety worse.

The natural lift that is provided by runner’s high is so pleasing that it has led to a condition that is known as exercise addiction. That is, the individual pursues the attainment of this natural high to the exclusion of other aspects of living. Like all addictions, this can lead to an imbalance in lifestyle that effectively separates the individual from loved ones and other pursuits. For this reason, it is generally recommended that active people enjoy the good feelings associated with runner’s high, but also to not allow exercise to become the predominant focus of the day.


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Post 1

I have never experienced runner's high, but I hear that the words can not capture all of what the runner feels. The beauty, the state of being of the body and the mind, can not be fully expressed in that phrase.

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