By: Adelle Collins/BRN Fitness
It’s getting warmer outside and the sun is starting to shine. That means it’s time to put on your running shoes and get going. If you are an avid runner, this exercise might be a part of your daily routine, something that you live for, but for those of us who would rather shave our heads than go for a run you may want to change your minds.
First of all… Runner’s High
Ever hear of it? If you have experienced it then you know that those are some of the best runs, they are the ones that you feel as if you could run forever. And wouldn’t it be nice if every run felt that way? David A. Raichlen, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Arizona explains that this “high” serves as a natural painkiller giving us the ability to forget about the pain we feel in our legs and our feet.
Where does it come from?
It’s all about endorphins. For many of us going for a run after a bad day may be just the ticket to turn things around. J. Kip Matthews, Ph.D., a sport and exercise psychologist explains that endorphins are considered natural painkillers that our bodies produce by activating opioid receptors in our brains.
Not only that but when you are on that long run and it’s about that time you would normally hit a wall, your brain is working behind the scenes to increase serotonin and norepinephrine, which have in turn been linked to reducing stress and depression. Matthews says, “What appears to be happening is that exercise affords the body an opportunity to practice responding to stress, streamlining the communication between the systems involved in the stress response.”
How do you get it?
For starters, push yourself and stay motivated. That’s not always easy, but knowing all of the benefits that come along with a tough run should change your mind a little. Find a middle ground. Go the extra mile and pick up the pace. Think about it this way, if you don’t push yourself and you stay within your comfort zone you won’t be reaping all of the benefits that are waiting to reward you and you won’t achieve that runner’s high that is just the extra mile away from clearing your mind and relieving your stress.
Photo by Alex Wong