Stories tagged jogging

John McCain isn't the only Arizonan having a bad week. Here's a remarkable story about a jogger's encounter with a rabid fox near Prescott and the extraordinary measures she took to get things checked out.


Feels so good: Many of these Marines taking part in a recent marathon in Washington, D.C., likely felt the effects of a runner's high during or after their effort.Courtesy Monica Darby
Don’t you just hate those perky people who come back from a long run or a hard workout and tell you how great they feel? Well, they’re probably not pulling the con job that I always thought was the case. Science has now proven that theoretical runner’s high actually exists.

Ever since the running/jogging craze kicked into high gear in the 1970s, zealots of the craze have extolled the virtues of the runner’s high they experienced. Those in the scientific world figured there might be something to it, that the act of intense working out could produce endorphins in the body that could elevate a person’s feeling of pleasure. But they had now way of measuring that.

Thanks to research being done by scientists in Germany, ways of tracking those endorphins have now been discovered. Researchers at the University of Bonn, who had been studying pain in the body, realized that their same methods could be used to measure the runner’s high. Results of the studied were reported in a story in the New York Times last week.

Here’s how it worked. The researchers conducted PET scans of runners’ brains before and after two-hour runs. The runners knew they were part of a study, but were not told they were being gauged for the effects of runner’s high. Along with the scans, the runners also filled out questionnaires following each run to measure their current mood.

The scans found that indeed more endorphins were being released in the runners’ bodies during their workouts. In fact, they were attaching themselves in the same portion of the brain that are active in emotional reactions like romance or emotion. Runners whose tests showed that they were in the best moods following their runs also showed more endorphins going to their brains.

Not all runners get the experience to the same degree and researchers want to find out why, and possibly how low-endorphin runners can increase their endorphin production.

The Germans are also now moving into a new phase of their study, to see if the endorphin release in physical activity can have an impact on pain felt by the athletes. They have heard stories of people running on broken legs or while suffering a heart attack and not being hampered in their workout. They want to see if there’s science to back up those stories.

BTW: I just want to go on record here and now to volunteer as a participant in any future studies that measure endorphin production while eating chocolate or pizza.


Get a kick: Is soccer better exercise compared to jogging? That's the question posed by Danish researchers in a recent study. (Flickr photo by probek)
Get a kick: Is soccer better exercise compared to jogging? That's the question posed by Danish researchers in a recent study. (Flickr photo by probek)
I know at least one regular Science Buzz contributor will be ecstatic over this latest bit of health news. So who showed the most personal health improvement when you compare soccer players to joggers to couch potatoes?

That was the question posed by Danish researchers who conducted a 12-week study of 37 men with similar health profiles going into the study. One third of the men played soccer for recreation over the course of the study, one third jogged and one third (the group I’d have liked to have been in) were couch potatoes.

After 12 weeks, here’s what they found out: Soccer players showed the most personal health improvement. Their body fat percentage went down 3.7% while their muscle mass increased 4.5 pounds. Joggers' fat percentage went down 2 percent and their muscle mass did not change significantly. Obviously, the couch potatoes health benchmarks got worse.

And through questions posed to the participants, researchers learned that soccer players felt less tired than the joggers after exercising as they were having more fun participating in that activity.

A lot of that makes a lot of common sense, but there is actually more science at play. The head of the study said soccer is a great exercise to improve health because soccer players get a better workout made up of intense bursts of activity. During those bursts, their hearts were pumping at up to 90 percent efficiency, a level that the joggers never came close to approaching.

Of course, us couch potatoes get a great workout for our fingers on the remote control. Talk about burst of energy, there’s nothing that moves my fingers faster than five or six bad channels in a row!

So what do you think? Is soccer better exercise than jogging? Is there another form of physical activity that’s even better? What’s the best workout? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

And you can also weigh in with your thoughts about soccer on another Science Buzz section…is soccer the most exciting sport to watch? Check it out by clicking here.