The runner’s high: how long does it take to reach it?

The elusive runner’s high. As Paula Radcliffe said in her interview the other day, you never regret going for a run. You always feel better than you did before you went. But the toughest part is getting out of that door.

But let’s face it, sometimes those first few minutes aren’t that much fun either. That internal monologue which says ‘oh this feels really hard’, ‘I’m really tired today’ and ‘should I just turn round and go home?’. But, most of the time, something then kicks in which persuades you that this run is brilliant. Why is this?

A YouGov poll of over 2,000 British adults, commissioned by the online sports retailer, sheds some light on the transition in mindset between motivating yourself to exercise and enjoying it once you do.

Key findings

  • the average time to experience euphoria in those who exercise three times a week or more is just nine minutes and 44 seconds
  • adults between 18-24 years old experience euphoria quickest, in under seven minutes
  • those aged between 35-44 take the longest, not reaching that feeling for 12 minutes and 47 seconds in comparison to those aged 45-54 who only take seven minutes and four seconds, 81% quicker
  • those who run as their main form of exercise experience the runner’s high quicker (8 minutes 28 seconds) than those who prefer other forms of exercise such as walking or hiking (10 minutes 35 seconds)
  • gym goers begin to enjoy exercising the quickest, in just 6 minutes 36 seconds

Michael Caulfield, a leading sports psychologist at The Sporting Edge, performance consultancy, said:

“It’s something everyone can relate to in what are now very busy lifestyles.  It is often easier to think of reasons not to exercise but there is a very distinct moment where your mindset changes and you take action.  Once you do, you never look back at running or exercise and say “I wish I hadn’t done that”.

“Different sports provide different psychological challenges and barriers. People are also naturally wired differently, face different lifestyle and environmental challenges and may have different forms of motivation. Research shows that this self-motivation tends to peak between 18-24, so in fact, millenials are more likely to push themselves to get out there and exercise compared to other age groups.”

Dan Staples, Director of Brand Marketing at Wiggle says:

“We all know those days when it’s more tempting to hit the snooze button, but as this research shows, the benefits of exercise and sport outweigh any excuses to not get out and get active. “We’d encourage people to push themselves to overcome the mental barriers and reap the rewards of euphoria.”

So if you’re struggling for motivation to get out for a run today, just think – euphoria is only 8 minutes and 28 seconds away!



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