In popular culture, “runner’s high” is often described as a state of euphoria. To most runners, this is false advertising. The neurochemical rewards of running are actually much more subtle and complex. A scientific study on runners who experience this high came up with a few key findings. The first is that the high is felt on a continuum. The presence of increased emotions is not just a yes or no state. Also, there were traits that these runners experienced including dilated pupils and decreased core body temperature.
- The journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, recently published a study about the phenomenon commonly referred to as runner’s high.
- The study was led by a neuroscientist, medical researcher and former collegiate long-distance runner, Stephen Hicks.
- The study was designed to isolate and analyze which pathways in the human brain are most active during a “runner’s high.”
“Instead, the neurochemical rewards of running tend to be subtle and highly variable, and the causes remain poorly understood by scientists.”