Daily Devotional

The Runner's High

Friday, July 1, 2022
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A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick. Prov. 17:22, TLB.

Feeling happy is certainly something we all strive for and deserve to enjoy. Unfortunately, some people rely on dangerous drugs to induce euphoria. Long ago I found that a good half-hour run produces the same results with much less risk.

The phenomenon is commonly referred to as the “runner’s high,” and most joggers feel it after about 30-40 minutes on the track. For some it takes longer, while others encounter it sooner. The sensation results from a natural narcotic produced by the body, called beta-endorphins. After a period of extended aerobic activity the body releases the chemical into your system, which acts as a painkiller and mood elevator. For the runner, the sense of exhilaration makes you feel that you could go on running forever. Some runners call it “catching your second wind.”

I often bring on this “runner’s high” while jogging, and it is physically and mentally energizing. In fact, it is often my most creative time. I find that my most inspired thoughts and insightful times occur while I am exercising. Whenever I’m confused, discouraged, or just in need of rejuvenation, I simply go for a run. Ideas pop into my head so fast I need a secretary bicycling beside me to write them all down. Why am I so creative while jogging and not while sitting behind a desk? I believe it is because of the energizing qualities of human motion and those wonderful beta-endorphins.

I actually know a psychiatrist who uses the jogging track rather than his office couch to counsel patients. Instead of letting them lie down while pouring out their woes, he takes them for a run while they talk.

“You’d be amazed how many patients feel great after our sessions,” he told me. “The truth is, most problems could be solved with a good run.”

Solomon tells us that a merry heart is like a medicine. What physiologists are now discovering is that the body already comes equipped with the medicine that produces a cheerful heart—endorphins. So when someone invites you to “get high,” tell them, “That sounds great,” and take them for a five-mile run.

What can you do to experience God’s natural “high” when you feel low?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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