Today is Global Running Day! To celebrate, read about how adding a running regimen to your day can benefit you physically and mentally!
If you pay attention to kids, they love to play. They tend to be better behaved and well adjusted when they get adequate levels of activity. The same is true for adults. Unfortunately, we are stuck in doors for most of the day. Adding a running regimen to your day may be just the ticket to find that hidden energy source.
I started running for exercise about 14 years ago. To be honest, I sucked at it. I am built to move things not run from them. It was hard at first but got easier the more I did it. I started to enjoy it. One thing I noticed while I was running was that I would get the famous “runner’s high.” It was a euphoric feeling brought on by running. I found it hard to distinguish whether it was from running or that I had finally finished an arduous task. Either way it became a feeling that I began to desire over and over again.
The department of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that aerobic exercise such as running, activates the endocannabinoid system. According to UCLA Health, “the endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide variety of processes, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function and reproductive function.”
This system is like the one that is activated by marijuana. The “runner’s high” was once thought to be brought on by the release of endorphins, but now research is showing that it is related to a system that gets people high from marijuana. This explains why runners typically experience elevated mood during and after running. The researchers at Wisconsin-Madison also found the level of endocannabinoids in the body did not differ significantly between varying activity levels. This means that you don’t have to kill yourself to get the euphoric benefits from running. Even moderate amounts of aerobic activity can elicit the “high.”
Psychologists, along with most self-help gurus promote exercise to ease symptoms of depression. There are a ton of studies that show the benefits of exercise in mood elevation. Just as drugs can be addictive, running can start to have the same affect.
When you stop running the effects are subtle, you don’t notice it at first. The smallest things will start irritating you. For me, I don’t realize that I am in a funk from lack of exercise until I exercise again. I get the “high” and I realize that I have been overly tense or cantankerous. It’s then that
I know that I need the release that only exercise can give you. It’s free, it doesn’t have any adverse side effects and can only make you a better person. Who would have thought that we can use our body to get high with out any outside help! So, next time you feel like you need a magic pill to feel better, get back on that running regimen!
BY CHRISTOPHER PREgONY B.S. C.S.C.S.
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