You’ve probably heard of the highly sought after “runner’s high.” According to an article published in Cerebral Cortex by Henning Boecker, runner’s high is “a euphoric state resulting from long-distance running.”
The article describes how continuous exercise causes your body to release endorphins, affecting the frontal region of your brain. Endorphins interact with the opioid receptors in your brain, which decrease the perception of pain and increase feelings of pleasure. These endorphins are the reason why many people feel so good after a long run or walk.
Research shows that running and walking can also provide long-term relief for those struggling with depression. "For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn't enough for someone with severe depression," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, quoted in a 2021 article for Harvard Health Letter.