Runner’s High vs. Gambling Thrill: A Neurochemical Duel

We have all asked ourselves why runners say they feel so happy and satisfied after a long, fulfilling run. However, the sense of bliss that is often referred to as “runner’s high” is a real biological process with scientifically supported facts; it is not just something that someone created for no reason. Interestingly enough, this exciting sensation has similarities with what people in the gambling world refer to as ‘azart’—a Russian term that describes immense excitement from taking risks and the expectation of winning. In this article, we will examine the scientific connection between ‘runner’s high’ and gambling ‘azart’.

When we consider the runner’s high, it turns out to be a mixture of endorphins, endocannabinoids, and other neurochemicals that the brain releases during extended activity. Endorphins are natural painkillers, and they significantly reduce unpleasantness and at the same time increase pleasure, thus creating a sense of happiness. In the same way, endocannabinoids are responsible for generating feelings of calmness and euphoria. All this intricate chemistry creates an environment of a natural high so that hard work becomes a true delight.

Based on the comparison to gambling, that elation and anxiety preceding a game of chance elicit similar biological reactions. The promise of victory stimulates a dopamine high which is truly enjoyable for gamblers. While running and gambling cannot be compared as siblings in the family of pastimes, they nevertheless spring from shared sentiments about how our minds enjoy risk, reward, and pleasure. Their difference is rooted in the excitement; running involves self-satisfaction and pushing one’s limits, while gambling gives thrill because it offers an opportunity to challenge luck with an unknowable outcome.

The runner’s high is one of the interesting things about it because it becomes a prize for not giving up. This is nature’s way of congratulating you on overcoming that challenge of pain, just as you would get satisfaction from making a tactical move in some serious game. Yet, unlike the temporal and often compromising rewards of betting, the runner’s high influences the person’s health in the long term; it enhances mood and even mental health.

Furthermore, the achievement of this state of euphoria is not a matter of chance; it takes commitment and hard work. It is a source of life skills in terms of being resilient in the face of challenging situations, understanding that dedication pays off, and establishing and attaining personal aims. On the contrary, gambling helps in discovering risk control, the delight of the unexpected, and often losing their sorry pockets.

One way to feel the runner’s high is through moderate to intense aerobic activity, according to professionals. It doesn’t come every time or only belongs in the world of professional runners. Even people who frequently jog can reach this stage with dedication. It’s a matter of finding your pace and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, like evaluating chances and planning tactics in gambling, except you know that the only thing that stands between you and achieving something remarkable is self-doubt.


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