Dopamine, often known as the ‘runner’s high’ is an organic chemical released by neurons. Discovered in 1957, dopamine is one of 20 or so major neurotransmitters. Acting as a messenger between brain cells, dopamine release plays a part in motivation, reward, memory and attention as well as regulating body movement. It’s responsible for the reward you feel after an action, therefore motivates you to repeat it time and again, resulting in hobbies and behavioural habits.
People truly believe dopamine is ‘a miracle bestower of happiness’ and it’s easy to see why. It motivates you to carry out actions in order to seek your needs and desires. From eating your favourite foods to hugging your dog.
For example, you’ve just finished a tough HIIT class. Sweat is pouring down your face, you’re still trying to regulate your breathing, your muscles feel fatigued. You also feel alive, awake and good vibes are flowing. Dopamine is in full force. So much so that you’ll most likely return to the class to feel this way again.
A dopamine deficiency results in sugar cravings, moodiness and more serious afflictions such as Parkinson’s Disease and addiction. And if you consider yourself a risk-taker then it might be due to a certain kind of dopamine receptor that is associated with sensation-seeking behaviour.
The good news is that this chemical is easy enough to release. However, unlike endorphins which are produced every time you exercise, dopamine is something you’ve got to work for. Consistent, regular exercise, particularly cardio, will improve levels of dopamine in your body, therefore, helping to prevent moodiness, low self-esteem and Parkinson’s disease.
Want some of that natural high? So do we. Here are our top 5 classes to get it:
- Ride at Digme
- Romans: Resistance at F45
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga at Dolphin Square Fitness
- Basic Flow Yoga at Fly LDN
- HIIT London Bootcamp at Train Dirty London
Get involved with the runner’s high conversation: