First of all, there is the inner bastard that has to be overcome. The start-up, the perseverance … no. Only a few hobby runners can report a mental flight. And yet: Once you've got through and running for a while to the limit, then a lucky state begins. Pain, aversion? All over. You almost feel a bit stoned. Doctors speak of the so-called "Runner 's High". Scientists have long assumed that this exhilaration is related to the secretion of endorphins – messenger substances that have a pain-relieving effect and, in turn, promote the release of the "happiness messenger" dopamine. This again boosts drive and motivation.
Runner's High: Endorphin release is not the reason
But German physicians came now in a recent study to another result. The researchers from Hamburg and Mannheim blame the so-called "endocannabinoids" on "Runner's High". The name of this body's own substances comes from cannabis – which causes similarly noisy conditions. In experiments with laboratory mice, the scientists were able to prove that running training sessions led to the release of both endorphins and endocannabinoids. All mice were relaxed after the long distance runs and experienced less pain and anxiety than before the run. However, if the researchers blocked the release of endocannabinoids, then the positive effects were also missing. When only the release of endorphins was stopped, the "runner 's high" of the mice remained unaffected.
Body's own "cannabis" as trigger of the "Runner 's High"
The physicians assume that the processes are very similar in humans. A lucky state that can even addict – especially professional athletes are looking for this state of happiness again and again. If the release of the endocannabinoids does not occur, the physicians feel that they are ineffective, nervous and even irritable … So there are slight consequences of withdrawal symptoms.
How do I reach the Runner 's High?
Not everyone experiences a "runner 's high". For this, the body must already be brought to the limit of load. Long-distance runners and cyclists are most familiar with elation. Interestingly enough, it is most likely to set in when the extreme load eases a bit – for example, when the athlete runs downhill for a while.