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The Mental Benefits of Running

11 July, 2013 0 comments

Mental Benefits of Running


Mental benefits of running

Running is a great way to stay fit and improve physically, but not just that. It also contributes to your mental well-being, making your life more balanced as a result. Marathon trainer and book author Don Garber even states that for many runners, the psychological benefits outweigh the most significant physical ones. But how come running is so good for one’s mind? Here are ten ways running can help to improve your mental well-being. Just so you have even more reasons to go outside today!

  1. Running reduces stress – Firstly, running helps you to get away from whatever is causing you stress, and to take some time off from everyday routine. But it’s more than that – it also elevates levels of serotonin in your body, which improves your mood. If you decide to run in the nature, that’s even better, because natural surroundings are known to reduce stress as well.
  2. Running gives a sense of freedom – If you feel like you’re tied to your job assignments, or people around you are causing unnecessary pressures, going for a run can be a great way to feel like you’re in control of everything again. Only you choose where to go, or how fast. Enjoy the wind blowing in your hair as you become your own boss once again!
  3. Running makes you happy – Researchers have shown that people who engage in regular exercise are generally happier than those who don’t. What is more – you’ve probably heard or experienced runner’s high, the elevated feeling of happiness, relaxation and self-satisfaction often experienced during and after a longer run.
  4. Running gives you energy – When you feel a lack of energy, it is often mental and not physical fatigue that you’re experiencing. Running as a daily routine helps to keep that mental fatigue at bay, and to maintain your energy levels so that you are ready to ace your day!
  5. Running sharpens your focus – If you want to be more productive in your work or studies, or be fully present while with your family or friends, going for a run can help you to be your best self. Firstly, it aids the flow of blood into your brain, and secondly, it increases your intake of oxygen. These two processes make you more focused and alert as a result.
  6. Running can bring you closer to your friends – Running together can be a great way to spend some more time with your friends, as common goals bring people closer together. If you feel like you don’t have much time for friends these days, combining a meet-up with your workout can be a great way to include both in your day. Additionally, joining a running buddy or a jogging group can help to find new friends to add to your circle.
  7. Running helps to fight depression and anxiety – When you go for a run, your brain releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which are related to mental health. Depression and anxiety specifically are believed to emerge partly due to deficiencies of those compounds, and thus running can act as a great form of natural medicine.
  8. Running builds confidence – There is something about going further and getting stronger that just makes people feel better about themselves. Finishing that first 5K (or a marathon!), being able to keep up with your workout discipline, looking better and better with each month – each of these show you what a wonderful person you are. If you start your morning with a run, you’ve already achieved something within the day and can continue feeling like you could do anything.
  9. Running keeps your mind young – If you want a sharp mind that continues to old age, a running routine is a great companion. Regular exercise can help to improve (and maintain) your learning ability and memory, and avoid neurodegeneration. Moreover, since it also helps to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it indirectly keeps away brain dysfunction and neurodegeneration that often emerge from these conditions.
  10. Running helps to fight addictions – Whatever your addiction, running can be used as a substitute to free yourself from the burden, which is why doctors recommend physical activity to addicts. For example, if you’re really craving a cigarette, changing into running clothes and going out to the track can turn your perspective around, so that you return feeling a relaxing runner’s high and a renewed focus to stay on track with your health goals.  

Bottom line

If you want to be a better version of yourself, starting a running routine is a great way to kickstart the change. Can you identify with these benefits? Or are there any others that you’ve experienced from running? Share them in the comments!

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