A blog by runners. For runners.

The Science Behind the Runner's High

A recent article by Scicurious at Scientific American explains a lot of the theories behind the “runner's high.”

The article came down to the fact that no one really knows why the runner's high occurs, but there are theories on how it might.


Scientists are still chasing the runner's high, and there's not yet a lot out there. Right now the evidence appears to support the hypothesis that endogenous opioid release and cannabinoid release in the brain triggers the effects, but of course, there's lots of room in the brain for the answer to be more complicated, involving other neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the exercise-induced bliss. Even less known, however, is the why of the runner's high. Maybe it's exhaustion? Maybe it's pain killing? Maybe it's just to get us back out there the next time.

If people ever ask a runner about the runner's high, most likely they can't explain what causes it either. All I know is, I generally feel better after a run than I did before. What about you? What do you think about runner's high? Is the runner's high what keeps you moving, or is it something else?