Three years ago, I participated in the first Colour Run in New Zealand.
The proof follows.
Also known as “The Happiest 5k”, you run/ walk/ skip/ jump/ crawl your way around a track with periodically positioned stations of “colour” (powdered corn-starch) that gets thrown all over you.
It truly is the happiest 5km run. You end up a walking rainbow, you’re not sweaty because you’re not really running, you’re rolling on the ground in coloured powder and you finish with a big smile on your face. Nothing could be better.
So what were the reasons for creating such a fun run?
Apart from making some moolah of course, The Colour Runs – which are now found across the world from South America to United Arab Emirates – encourages people of any age and ability to be healthy AND happy. They even have a “Finish Festival” for everyone to dance it out and as stated on their website “release a few more endorphins”.
You see, running or most workouts for that matter, encourage the release of endorphins.
Endorphins = “any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.”
In other words… Endorphins are chemicals released from your brain which make you feel awesome, relaxed and take away pain. We like endorphins.
They then join up to opioid receptors which are found all throughout your body but most notably in the nervous system along with endorphins. There are at least 17 opioid receptors and the best known 3 are mu, kappa & delta.
This joining of endorphins and opioid receptors can ultimately stop other nasty molecules (tachykinins) from being released. A special type of tachykinin called substance P is in charge of transmitting pain and involved in inflammatory body reactions – not what you want being released.
Some people may experience an endorphin rush from eating chocolate or even if they talk to a stranger. It’s letting you know you’ve had enough, but that you should definitely come back to it again, because it made you feel good.
The same happens in runners, endorphins (mimicked by drugs like morphine and heroine) give you a rush of pleasure that helps ease the pain of those rubbing blisters, the aching muscles, your tired legs. After your run, you feel awesome, experience “runners high” and decide you want to go for another run tomorrow because it made you feel so good and accomplished.
Endorphins are the bodies natural way of feeling high and euphoric without the need for drugs. Drugs do give off the same feelings, but also come with a whole lot of other issues and much more baggage.
No wonder The Colour Run leaves people wanting more.
- You’re exercising (encouraging the release of endorphins)
- You’re interacting with people, many of whom are strangers (also likely encouraging the release of endorphins)
- You’re most likely with friends or family who generally speaking should be making you feel happy anyway
- You’re surrounded by colour, and as we saw in my last 2 blogs (here and here), colours can make you feel pretty darn great!