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Sharing a runner’s high with your dog

Ask any runner, and he or she will tell you that there is nothing quite like the high that comes from a good cross-country workout. Running enthusiasts often claim that the activity is more than just a sport or form of exercise and is more of a lifestyle. Dog-loving runners often take their canine companions out with them for exercise and to spend time together. As it turns out, your dog may have more reasons to love running than simply getting to be with you. Scientists recently published a study in the Journal of Experimental Biology that found cursory animals, ones that have legs designed for running, do experience elevated endorphin levels post-workout.

The study examined the levels of a neurotransmitter called endocannabinoid in humans, dogs and ferrets after having them run on a treadmill. This neurotransmitter is responsible for sending reward signals to the brain. Both humans and dogs are considered to have legs designed for running whereas ferrets do not. The scientists found that human runners and their pooches both experience significantly increased levels of the endocannabinoids after high-intensity running workouts whereas the ferrets were just exhausted without the payoff. So the next time you are about to head out to try and set a new personal record for your usual three-mile circuit, don’t feel bad about bringing your dog along for the fun!

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