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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 207-209

Runner's high: A review of the plausible mechanisms underlying exercise-induced ecstasy

1 Department of Physiology, Gian Sagar Medical College, Rajpura, Punjab, India
2 Department of Physiology, Govt. Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Sharat Gupta
House No. 849, SST Nagar, Rajpura Road, Patiala - 147 001, Punjab
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DOI: 10.4103/1319-6308.164265

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Runners high refer to the feeling of exaltation that is experienced by some people who are engaged in strenuous exercise. Until the date, the exact mechanisms underlying this unique mental state continue to be a matter of debate, mainly due to a lack of credible evidence in support of the same. There are many sceptics who dismiss the very notion of runners high because they consider it to be nothing but a mere confabulatory act, which stems from the sense of achievement felt upon successful completion of a physical activity. However, some recent studies have put forth two different mechanisms to explain the exact cause behind this intriguing human emotion. The first and perhaps the most widely accepted notion is related to the exercise-induced endorphin release in the brain, while the second theory proposes the presence of an endocannabinoid system within the human brain, which releases special neurotransmitters during vigorous physical activity. Through this review, we have tried to put together the nitty-gritty of both these theories, with the hope of instigating further research in this hitherto unexplored field.

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