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How to get a runner’s high without running

Join a book club discussion of The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal on Thursday, February 27th. Book club will start right after our 6:30pm Disney Cardio Dance class.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the book, you still have time to read or listen to it on audio book.

One of the most interesting parts of the book to me was the evolutionary science behind the idea of the “Runner’s High.”

“Our brains reward us for exercising at intensities similar to those successfully used for hunting and foraging two million years ago.”

It’s not just running that can get you “high”

The buzz that you get from sustained exercise is thought to be a reward for persisting when we’d forage or hunt all day. But you don’t have to run to get the high.

“Anything that keeps you moving and increases your heart rate is enough to trigger nature’s reward for not giving up. There’s no objective measure of performance you must achieve, no pace or distance you need to reach, that determines whether you experience an exercise-induced euphoria. You just have to do something that is moderately difficult for you and stick to it for at least twenty minutes.”

This is good news for people like me who don’t run. Maiden Motion’s cardio dance and barre classes do the trick in getting the heart rate elevated enough to reap the benefits of an exercise endorphin rush.

The book goes further into the effects that an exercise high has on your brain. They reduce anxiety, increase optimism, and help us bond with others.

Learning the science behind what we feel when we move helps me appreciate more all of the benefits that movement has on our brains.

If you’re curious on this topic, get yourself a copy of The Joy of Movement and come chat about it with us on February 27th!

Podcasts Featuring Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal has been making the podcast circuit to promote the book, so if you want to start there, here are some links:

The Rich Roll Podcast

Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu

Be Well By Kelly

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