While endorphins play a role in our overall wellbeing by warding off pain and perpetuating pleasure, they alone do not create a rush, a high, or a burst of happiness - Anna Jordan


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What causes runner’s high? Hint: it may not be endorphins.

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t,” said Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde. The number of times I’ve quoted that line to my husband as I leave him with three screaming children so that I can go for a run must number in the high three digits. But veiled threats and screaming children aside, is Elle Woods right? Do endorphins really make us happy, and if so, how?

To start, endorphins are neurotransmitters, which pass along information and signals from one neuron to the next. The primary job of endorphins is to block pain. I spoke with Dr. Kara Reynolds, an Emergency Room physician…

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Last Updated : Monday, March 8, 2021