YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD OF, AND HOPEFULLY
experienced, the runner’s high – that elevated mood state that’s reached after a run, when exercise-induced endorphins start coursing around the brain. For most of us, this is just one of the multiple positive aspects of running. For those recovering from addictions to alcohol or drugs, however, it takes on a whole new level of importance – running, and the psychological benefits it offers, can aid the rehabilitation process by replacing a destructive habit with a healthy one. In a compelling personal account on page 50, Caleb Daniloff traces his own recovery from addiction through running and explores the growing body of scientific research that finds therapeutic value in the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
Examples of running’s transformative power are widespread – as numerous, I suspect, as runners themselves. They can be as extreme as running the length of Europe, unsupported and alone, to test your physical and mental limits, as Aleks Kashefi did (page 24); as common as running to lose weight to become healthier and more confident, like Martin Kelly (page 29); or as all-encompassing as the 45 per cent reduced risk of death from heart-related causes compared with non-runners of a similar age, as explored in The Runner’s Heart on page 40. If there was a miracle pill that offered all that, there would be a stampede. For us, the benefits are just a run away.