Running speed, that is. My younger sister recently sent me this article discussing what’s often referred to as the “runner’s high”: Wired To Run: Runner’s High May Have Been Evolutionary Advantage, by Christopher Joyce. I can relate to the super-woman (a competitive runner/orthopedic surgeon) referenced in the article. She compares endurance athletes’ need to exercise to a drug addict’s longing for the substance. Like any addiction, it throws you completely out of whack when removed from your life.
And it’s not all mental. Research show that “when people exercise aerobically, their bodies can actually make drugs — cannabinoids, the same kind of chemicals in marijuana.” Holy smokes! The study at issue (by David Raichlen) also looked at ferrets and dogs, and revealed that dogs – also distance runners – produced the drugs but ferrets did not. This “suggests some level of aerobic exercise was encouraged by natural selection, and it may be fairly deep in our evolutionary roots.”
So, take advantage of this evolutionary blessing and get off the couch for a free natural high!
Alex is one of the track club ambassadors and very active in the running community in Kansas City. You can see Alex on Monday nights leading intervals at Liberty Memorial and the Saturday Morning Running Group Downtown.