What’s Up With the Runner’s High?

For everyone who’s ever wondered whether the “runner’s high” is just a mythical experience within reach for only the most fit (like climbing Mt. Olympus), we’ve got some answers. Many types of exercise, including cardio and weightlifting, have been associated with increased endorphin levels (the happy hormone), but a truly euphoric experience is generally associated with more intense endurance feats. Studies suggesting the existence of a real “high” have generally been small and done on fit subjects running for multiple hours— probably not something most of us are tackling in our regular gym routines.

The Takeaway: Exercise is associated with the release of extra endorphins, but there’s no conclusive evidence that running causes a true high— at least, not for the casual athlete.

Fun Fact: The record for the most marathons run in a year stands at 365. Belgian Stefaan Engels ran one marathon per day for a full year (completing the year in February, 2011) for a total of 9,569 miles.

Fitness on a Budget

Our writer, Laura, has completed her month-long Greatist Challenge. Get the skinny on exercising on a budget with all her tips and tricks.