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That amazing high or euphoria that you experience after working out is known as ‘’runner’s high”.
Most people know this feeling as a release of endorphins but new research suggests otherwise.
Claiming that this feeling of euphoria is no different to the high you experience after smoking a joint.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a runner’s high is achieved via the brain’s ‘endocannabinoid system, which is the same one that is affected by the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana.’
The German research team wrote that “A runner’s high is a subjective sense of well-being some humans experience after prolonged exercise”.
For decades, it was said that exercise- induced endorphin release is solely attributed to runner’s high, but this study suggest otherwise.
They conducted an experiment where two groups of mice were monitored, one that ran remained sedentary and one that ran on a treadmill for five hours.
“Anxiety levels for each group were gauged using the dark-light box test — the mouse’s anxiety is measured by the frequency and speed it took them to leave a well-lit area for a darker area that offers a place to hide.”
Researchers also looked at each animal’s tolerance for pain by placing them on a hot plate to see their reactions; whether they would jump or lick their paws.
The first group of mice that were in the treadmill group were considered less anxious after their five-hour run in comparison to the mice in the sedentary group. ‘Not only were mice considered less anxious, but they also had a higher tolerance for pain.’
No matter the cause of a runner’s high, it is beneficial toward an athlete’s overall health.
As a study done researchers led at the University of Iowa ‘showed that some of the cardiac benefits tied to exercise come from the subsequent release of opioid peptides’.
So the next time you experience that endorphin rush, keep in mind that, what you’re experiencing is similar to lighting up a spliff.
Sources: Medical Daily, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences