Tag Archives: runner’s high

Running versus weight-lifting: Which is better for improving mood?

Many runners experience the phenomenon called “runner’s high”, which is caused by a surge of endorphins in the brain, the body’s “feel good” chemicals.

Some weight-lifters may experience something similar, but is it as strong as runner’s high? Does it improve mood to the same degree as running?

According to researchers at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, in the study, Effects of running and other activities on moods:

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the moods and mood variations of runners to those of aerobic dancers, weight-lifters, and nonexercising controls. The subjects, 70 undergraduates, were participants in a jogging and conditioning, a weight training, an aerobic dance, or an introductory psychology class. A time-series design was used in which all participants completed eight Profile of Mood State questionnaires over a 6-hr. period that centered on the time of the class. Four questionnaires were completed during the second week of classes and the other four about midsemester, approximately 6 wk. later. Runners had a significantly more positive mood profile than nonexercisers and a somewhat more positive one than weight-lifters, but those of runners and aerobic dancers were similar. Changes in moods across time in relation to activity and across semester suggest that exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, helps the regular participant not only to cope with stress but also to have a generally more positive feeling of well-being.

Interestingly, the aerobic dancers were similar to runners in terms of mood. I gotta admit that I usually find strength-training dull compared to running, and so this study didn’t surprise me. The results of this study imply cardio in general is probably better at improving mood than strength-training. My own experience confirms this.

New joggling record set in the rain

Laugh at bad weather. Unless the rain is especially heavy, or there’s tornadoes or a hurricane, don’t let “bad” weather interfere with your running routine. Yet again I learned the important lesson today to not let the weather prevent me from performing at my best.

It was raining, but luckily it was light. It was about 40 farenheit(4.4 C) but I didn’t feel the cold. There were a lot of puddles around that I dodged or jumped over. There was just slightly more than a hint of wind. I recently purchased some new sneakers, but wore my older pair since there is still some life in them. I wore sweatpants instead of shorts and had gloves and sunglasses(not very dark ones because of how cloudy it was)on. I didn’t really feel that energetic in the morning when I joggled. My breakfast was my usual bialys with sunflower seeds. 

Unfortunately, my feet got a little wet due to the rain and due to stepping in a few puddles(I need to work on this!), and my gloves got wet also. My sweatshirt and hat also got very wet. Worst of all, my sunglasses got wet and foggy, in spite of the baseball type hat I had on. I sometimes had trouble seeing the balls or my surroundings, but I couldn’t dry them for obvious reasons.

And yet, I broke all previous records. I consistently joggled 3 balls in 1 hour and 5 minutes, covering a distance of 6.7 miles(10.7 km) from start to finish without dropping any of the wet balls even once. I still have trouble believing it. I almost dropped the balls about 5 times(usually while doing tricks) but managed to catch them at the last second. I didn’t even intend to break any records, since I was kind of tired and thought the wet weather would interfere with my joggling. It didn’t. It was an amazing experience, though very exhausting toward the end. I didn’t even do any warm-ups before the run.

I still consider myself to be a total clutz.

Is joggler’s high better than runner’s high?

Runner’s high is a well-known phenomenon among both runners and other fitness enthusiasts. A lot more research on it needs to be done, but it does appear to be for real and is largely due to the effects of intense exercise on the brain. Intense exercise causes the release of endorphins(the body’s own morphine), which are the body’s own “feel good” chemicals. This may explain why aerobic exercise can help relieve mild depression.

Not all runners experience runner’s high. Since we are all biochemically and neurologically unique, running doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Some runners experience the high so intensely that they become addicted to running – they have become addicted to their own endorphins.

This addiction greatly increases the risk of injury, since a day or two of rest per week is essential for the recovery of the runner.

Which brings me to the question: How much better is “joggler’s high” compared to runner’s high? Juggling alone seems to produce a mild high all by itself(even without an audience), so when combined with running, in the form of joggling, is the high even more intense?

No studies have been done on “joggler’s high”, but in my subjective opinion, the high really is significantly more powerful than runner’s high. It really feels amazing to run several miles while juggling 3 balls at the same time, especially if I don’t drop the balls.

However, an important confounding factor when it comes to joggling is all the compliments a joggler receives while joggling in the park or around town. I regularly hear “that’s amazing!”, “that is so cool!” from a lot of people while joggling(there are also those who scoff or insult, but they are rare). So is “joggler’s high” better because of the praises or is it due more to the intensity of the exercise?

As far as I can tell, it is a little of both, and the best way to test this would be to somehow do brain-scans of jogglers joggling along a path where there are no other people. I’m not even sure if we have the technology to do this now, not to mention how expensive it would be even if we did.

We already know that juggling can help grow grey matter in the brain. It may also help relieve stress. As for “joggler’s high”, it is hard to tell at this point how much more powerful it is than runner’s high or if it even deserves a separate label. Cycling and other intense aerobic activities also produce “runner’s high”, but it would probably be more accurate to simply call it “intense cardio high”, or something similar.

Since I have been running almost forever, it’s been a very long time since I’ve experienced runner’s high. But I believe I experience “joggler’s high” on a regular basis, to the point that I almost never run without juggling.

Whatever the case may be, joggling is a ton of fun, even if it isn’t the ultimate exercise.

Yes, running can make you high.