The average runner experiences a natural high in less than 9 minutes, new study finds

No matter how heavy your legs might feel during the first mile, for most runners, there’s nothing like that high you experience mid, or post-run. Yet according to a new study, that familiar feeling is closer to the start line than you might have thought.

A YouGov poll of over 2,000 British adults, commissioned by online sports retailer wiggle.co.uk found that the average time for runners to experience a natural high is just eight minutes and 28 seconds.

According to sports psychologist Michael Cauldfield, this natural high, which he has coined ‘youphoria’, is experienced by millions of runners every day. On average, women experience this quicker – after 9 minutes and 7 seconds, compared to 10 minutes and 20 seconds for men.

The study also found that runners between 18-24 years old got there quicker – feeling the natural high in under 7 minutes, compared to those aged between 35-44, who took on average 12 minutes and 47 seconds. All hope is not lost however, as runners aged between 45-54 years old were closer to the younger age group, experiencing youphoria in 7 minutes and 4 seconds.

Related: Running makes you a happier person, according to new research 

Following news earlier this week that running makes you a happier person, researchers found that for 84% of runners, improving their well-being was the most popular reason for them to lace up their trainers.

Compared to walking or attending an exercise class, it was runners that experienced that natural-high the fastest - all the more reason to clock up the miles this weekend. 

Sports psychologist Michael Caulfield said: “It is often easier to think of reasons not to exercise but there is a very distinct moment where your mindset changes and you take action. Once you do, you never look back at running or exercise and say ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’.

“Different sports provide different psychological challenges and barriers. People are also naturally wired differently, face different lifestyle and environmental challenges and may have different forms of motivation. Research shows that this self-motivation tends to peak between 18-24, so in fact, millennials are more likely to push themselves to get out there and exercise compared to other age groups.”