Friday, March 28, 2008

Yes, Running Can Make You High (NY Times)

Gina Kolata from the New York Times wrote an article about the runner's high, and some recent studies coming out of Germany that have linked it to a rush of endorphins in the brain. See, I knew I wasn't crazy!

Some snippets:
Researchers in Germany, using advances in neuroscience, report in the current issue of the journal Cerebral Cortex that the folk belief is true: Running does elicit a flood of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are associated with mood changes, and the more endorphins a runner’s body pumps out, the greater the effect.

The data showed that, indeed, endorphins were produced during running and were attaching themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions, in particular the limbic and prefrontal areas.The limbic and prefrontal areas, Dr. Boecker said, are activated when people are involved in romantic love affairs or, he said, “when you hear music that gives you a chill of euphoria, like Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.” The greater the euphoria the runners reported, the more endorphins in their brain.

“Some people have these really extreme experiences with very long or intensive training,” said Dr. Boecker, a casual runner and cyclist, who said he feels completely relaxed and his head is clearer after a run.
Read the full article here.


(Thanks to JR Atwood for the tip)


  1. Ive only had that happen a couple of times! I wish it would happen more often. :)

  2. well, that explains a lot! I guess when my friends tell me I am addicted to running they are right.

  3. Scott,

    Not to rain on your parade, but logically this doesn't prove you're not crazy, just that you're right about this one thing ;-)

    I've recently subscribed to your RSS feed and have been enjoying the blog. Waiting on more proof with regards to the crazy/sane thing though!

  4. Great distillation of the research. You might be interested in my conversation with brain researcher Andrew Newberg on the religious dimensions of the runner's high:

  5. Sorry, try this address for "The Ecstasy of Running":


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