It’s not just endorphins that make you feel good after exercise. I recently attended the launch event for ON Runnings new Cloud Flow trainer, where I listened to a speech from John Brewer. He explained the science behind the runners high and how it is not simply the fact that you are exercising that makes you feel good, but a whole host of contributory factors.
Endorphins are a type of Endocannabinoid (yes the same ones you experience from Cannabis). Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that trigger certain nerve-receptors and cause that great post workout buzz. But it is not just exercise that triggers their release, here are some other factors that will help you get that runners high.
- Start early – Endocannabinoid levels are three times higher in the human body after waking. Another reason to get out of the door before breakfast.
- Start cold – Endocannabinoid levels are higher when the subject is cold. Wait till winter or take a 1 minute cold shower before your run.
- Cortisol is good for something – Cortisol the stress hormone actually contributes to the runners high. So trick your body into producing some endocannabinoids by yelling at the top of your lungs for 1 minute.
- Can’t speak – Running at over 80% intensity essential for the production of endocannabinoids. If you can hold a conversation with your running buddy, you aren’t running fast enough.
- No distractions – Zoning out and paying attention to nothing but where you are going and your body has been proven to contribute to the runners high.
- The road less travelled – Your surroundings pay a crucial part to not just the enjoyment of your workout but the high you experience at the end of it. Strive to find a beautiful new route or place to workout, whether that be a mountain trail run, along the river, a city scape. Whatever floats your boat.
- Good days & bad days – Exercising in sunny weather can result in a sensory overload and exercising in the rain triggers the body’s immune system. Both of which lead to increased production of Endocannabinoids. It’s the shitty quintessentially British days that are no good for you. The ones where is just overcast and cold.
- Looking sexy – How you feel about what you are wearing while you workout actually effects your production of Endocannabinoids. Finally and excuse to buy a new pair of Nikes!
- Itchy Mitchy – Any discomfort what so ever whilst exercising, regardless of how little it is actually effecting your performance, will demand your attention. You can’t stop thinking about it, even if it is just an itch. Chafing, itching, injuries, cloths or shoes that don’t fit all detract from your runners high. Get some decent kit! Did someone say shopping spree?