The Science Behind Running and Euphoria

running and euphoria

There is a scientific reason behind euphoric feelings while running.

running and euphoria

Got that LOVE/HATE relationship with running? As an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, I feel like it is my duty to get people back to the sports they love.  Yes, sure, there is the physical component to running—staying fit, training for high-level sports, qualifying for the Boston Marathon; but, there is an important mental component to it too.

Running can make your mind “HAPPY”!

Endorphins are released while we run, starting at 20-30 minutes into exercising. They are produced during exercise when neurotransmitters in the pituitary gland (a hormone producing center of our brain) are released and react with our opiate receptors, which sense pain. There are various theories as to why this may happen. Potentially, the brain may see exercises as a type of pain (OK—you cannot deny that at times this could be the case!) and then send endorphins out to “dull the pain”. Another possibility is that the fatty acids that increase while you are running acidify the blood and subsequently endorphins are released.

READ MORE: Five Common Running Injuries To Avoid

Research studies have shown that exercise may be useful in improving your mood and even helpful in treating clinical depression.   It is recommended to gradually increase your aerobic expenditure as you run as opposed to going 100% immediately in order to maximize endorphins.

AND—if you cannot get out and run today, there are some other options to increased endorphin release. Go out with a friend and have a good LAUGH. Place LAVENDER around your house and get a good whiff. Turn the TUNES up and listen to music.



Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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