Commentary: The Lie That Americans Tell Themselves About Exercise

When asked in polls why they don’t exercise, roughly half of Americans invariably state that they are “too busy” or “don’t have the time”. Whether witting or unwitting, this is a lie.

How do we know that this is a lie? Because Americans have said so. According to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average American reported having 5.5 hours of leisure time per day. When researchers with the RAND Corporation further scrutinized the survey, breaking the data down based on age and race, they found that no group reported fewer than 4.5 hours of daily free time.

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Commentary: The ‘Runner’s High’ May Result from Molecules Called Cannabinoids – the Body’s Own Version of THC and CBD

Woman running on the road

Many people have experienced reductions in stress, pain and anxiety and sometimes even euphoria after exercise. What’s behind this so-called “runner’s high”? New research on the neuroscience of exercise may surprise you.

The “runner’s high” has long been attributed to endorphins. These are chemicals produced naturally in the body of humans and other animals after exercise and in response to pain or stress.

However, new research from my lab summarizes nearly two decades of work on this topic. We found that exercise reliably increases levels of the body’s endocannabinoids – which are molecules that work to maintain balance in the brain and body – a process called “homeostasis.” This natural chemical boost may better explain some of the beneficial effects of exercise on brain and body.

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