After having a stunning run with the group last night, I still feel the positive effects this morning. There’s a fair bit of science to prove that there is such a thing as a “runner’s high”….but do dogs also receive similar benefits?

Firstly, let’s look at the positive effects of this on us humans.

The positive effects of a run can last for varying amounts of time, depending on a variety of factors, including the duration and intensity of the run, your fitness level, your individual physiology and ultimately the enjoyment levels you receive from the run itself. Last night we were running along the coast with this sunset as a backdrop…perfect runner’s high potential there!

That feel-good factor of a great run!

Some immediate benefits of a run can include an increase in endorphins (feel-good chemicals in the brain) and a boost in energy levels that can last for a few hours after the run. Additionally, a run can help to lower stress levels, improve mood, and increase cognitive function, which can also have longer-lasting effects.

Ultimately, the key to experiencing long-term positive effects from running is to make it a regular part of your exercise routine and to focus on gradually building up your endurance and intensity over time which is why we have three group runs a week of varying lengths and with a variety of routes on offer.

Our playground last night!

Like humans, dogs can experience the release of endorphins during exercise, which can lead to a sense of euphoria and runner’s high.

In fact, many dogs love to run and participate in activities like Canicross, which can help to improve their physical and mental health. As my own dog is a testament to, the sport can really help nervous/anxious dogs by engaging them in a “job” alongside stimulating their brain as well as their body. Canicross is a team sport, your dog will need to learn commands and work with you towards a mutual goal which is where you start to see the “magic” happen.

I’ve witnessed so many success stories where unsocialised/nervous dogs enjoy being around the pack, love doing their job and enjoy the brain stimulation that the sport offers them. However, it’s important to make sure that you are using the right equipment and that your dog is properly trained and socialised. We can do this through our 1-2-1 sessions to ensure you are equipped to head out confidently and safely together.

There have been a few studies on the possibility of a “runner’s high” in dogs, Here are the most recent and their findings:

  1. In 2017, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona conducted a study on dogs and their owners, tracking their levels of oxytocin (a hormone associated with bonding and social interaction) before and after a 30-minute walk or run. The study found that both dogs and their owners experienced an increase in oxytocin levels after exercising together, suggesting that there may be a physiological and psychological benefit to the activity.
  2. Another study from 2018, published in the journal Behavioural Processes, examined the behaviour of dogs before and after running on a treadmill. The study found that the dogs exhibited more playful and social behaviour after running, indicating that they may have experienced a positive emotional state.

For anyone wishing to start their adventures on the trails with their dogs, feel free to contact us here. We can help.