The Runners High: How Exercise Affects Our Minds

Endocannabinoids are an incurable drug, these scientists believed. Similar to the chemical composition for cannabis, cannabinoids made by our bodies increase in number during pleasurable activities, such as orgasm, and when we run, studies show. They can also cross the blood-brain barrier, which can cause any runner to get higher.

Some previous experiments reinforced that possibility. in A notable 2012 study, Researchers coaxed dogs, people and cohorts to run on the treadmill, while their blood levels were measured with endocannabinoids. Dogs and humans are cursed, which means adapted to run well distances near bones and muscles. Are not ferrets; They slip and splash, but rarely cover sloping miles, and they did not produce additional cannabinoids while running the treadmill. Dogs and people, however, indicate that they were most likely experiencing a runner high and that their internal cannabinoids can be detected.

That study did not rule out a role for endorphins, however, as Drs. Johannes Fuss felt. Director of the Human Behavior Laboratory at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Appnedorf in Germany, he and his colleagues had long been interested in how various activities affect the internal functioning of the brain, and after reading the ferret studies and others, thought that They probably can. Look more closely at the runner’s high.

He started with mice, who are keen runners. For a 2015 study, they Chemically inhibited the fast flow of endorphins in animal brains And let them run, then did the same with the uptake of endocannabinoids. When their endocannabinoid system was shut down, the animals ended their run, as they were initially concerned and biting the twitch. But when his endorphins were blocked, his behavior was quieter, more joyful-out after walking. They felt that their endorphin systems could develop that familiar, mild bulge despite being inactive.

Mice are not emphatically people, however. Therefore, for the new study, which was published in Psychoendocrinology in February, Drs. Fuss and his colleagues determined to repeat the experiment, as far as possible, to humans. Hiring 63 experienced runners, man and woman, they invited him to the lab, testing his fitness and current emotional states, blood and randomly assigning half to receive naloxone, a drug that intensified opioids. Blocks, and the rest one placebo. (The drug they used to block endocannabinoids in mice is not legal in people, so they cannot repeat the experiment.)

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