If you’re an active individual, chances are you’ve probably chased that ultimate exercise high.
You’ve probably heard of it as the “runner’s high.”
For a long time now the “runner’s high” has been known by runners and non-runners alike, and it’s often associated with any exercise or physical activity.
People associate this feeling of nirvana with a rush of endorphins, and you may have even heard someone say something like, “time to get those endorphins pumping!”
It’s true that there are a lot of ways out there to get a natural feeling of high, and running or exercising is certainly one of them.
When exercising, there’s a lot more going on in your body than changing endorphin levels, though.
Here are some essential tips for hitting that awesome exercise high you’ve been seeking.
What is Really Happening When You Hit That Exercise High?
While a lot of people attribute that feeling of post-exercise elation as a higher level of endorphins, many recent studies have found that it’s more than likely due to endocannabinoids.
That’s right, endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in your brain–the same receptors that benefit from the effects of cannabis.
These chemical compounds cause the same effects, such as:
- Stress reduction
- Pain relief
- Sense of well-being
So what are some practical ways you can boost your exercise high?
1. Exercise First Thing in the Morning
And all of the night owls immediately groaned in unison…
It’s true, we’re not all wired to get jumping out of bed as soon as the sun rears its head.
Other studies have shown that leptin levels play a role in your workout intensity.
Leptin is a hormone which inhibits hunger, and hunger is correlated to how much energy you have to be active. This is an old biological drive in human beings that says we need to be active and ready to search or hunt for food if we’re hungry.
So guess what’s particularly low in the morning? That’s right, leptin in your body.
If you can, try to get working out as soon as you can when you wake up. It’s a great way to start the day and get that exercise high going as quick as you can so you can enjoy it for as much of the day as possible.
2. Get Your Heart Rate Up
It’s important to get your heart rate up as quick as you can, but not necessarily too high.
Since this is often known as the “runner’s high,” it’s no surprise that cardio is one of the best ways to get this going.
Researchers found that pushing your heart rate into a moderately high area can activate the release of endocannabinoids in your body.
It helps to be able to monitor your heart rate to know if you’re pushing yourself too far or not far enough. Some people claim that you should aim for around 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.
If you don’t have an exact heart rate monitor lying around, just use some common sense. Are you having trouble even getting a word out after your set? You might be overshooting it a little then.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training
Hopefully, you’re not sick of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) at this point, because routines like that are only going to do you favors on your path to the exerciser’s high.
A study published in Neuropsychopharmacology shows that HIIT sessions have a greater chance of releasing those feel-good chemicals in our brains.
Apparently, not only do you need to get moving but sometimes you need to get moving in short bursts.
4. Take it Outside
Sometimes, exercising indoors is simply convenient.
Whether you have a gym membership or whole at-home gym setup, it can be a good way to keep moving while staying out of the rain, the cold, or the extreme heat. Still, a lot can be said about the extra high you’ll experience from taking your routine outdoors.
It’s no wonder a lot of people like to go for hikes or meditate in nature. There’s an extra sense of calm and euphoria that comes from being outdoors.
If simply being outdoors helps reduce stress and boost your mood, then it only makes sense that working out outdoors will make for a double high.
Sometimes, it’s just about changing up the scenery in the first place. So whether you’re running around a natural wonder of the world or just taking a few laps in the woods in your backyard, taking your exercise outside will only help.
5. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
There’s a lot to be said about self-fulfilling prophecies.
The idea is that regardless of the circumstances, if someone believes something to be true hard enough, then they will experience what they expect to.
It could be a good idea for you to just look in the mirror and give yourself a pep talk.
Tell yourself: “You’re ready for this,” “You’re going to have a great workout,” etc.
Chances are, you’ll motivate yourself to have a great workout regardless and you’ll get that exercise high pumping even faster.
On the same note, make sure to pep talk yourself after the exercise as well.
Think things like, “That was a great workout,” “You did a great job,” and “Keep it up!”
This will help you to savor the exercise high and motivate you to keep going in the future.
6. Stick to the Buddy System
Social interaction has similar endocannabinoid-releasing effects as exercising does.
If you want to double up on that high (or triple it, in the case of taking it outdoors), consider working out with a friend.
Having a buddy nearby can really help you by not only keeping you motivated but enhancing those stress- and pain-reducing chemicals get flowing.
Not only that but working out with another can really help you by seeing the exercise high in action on their face. That kind of instantaneous feedback should keep you going.
Exercising and Other Legal Highs
Hopefully, this guide gave you some insights into how to get your own exercise high going.
Whether you’re changing up the scenery, getting moving with a friend, or getting running first thing in the morning, there are a lot of great and legal ways to get that high feeling you’re chasing.
Read on if you want some more tips or ideas on legal ways to get high.