How Running Can Benefit You Mentally
Running is certainly one of the best ways of improving health and has many mental and physical health benefits. It is considered to be the most efficient calorie-burning activity that isn’t just good for your physical health but also for general well-being. Running can help prevent heart disease, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, as well as other unpleasant health conditions. Aside from that, running triggers the release of endorphins and thus improve the quality of mental and emotional life. That’s why many people all around the world like running.
There are a number of mental benefits of running you might not know. Below, you can find out more about these benefits.
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Moderate exercise can help you cope with stress and anxiety even after you are done working out. It is scientifically proven that exercise cuts down the stress hormones in the body, including cortisol and adrenaline. Therefore, many fitness experts recommend aerobic exercise, such as running and jogging, as a way of reducing anxiety.
Regular physical activity can help you alleviate symptoms of depression. For example, you can significantly lower the risk of depression by exercising 3 times a week. In a study, researchers found that only 30 minutes of running on a treadmill can improve the mood in people suffering from depression.
Makes You Happier
Take note of your mood! No matter how bad or good you are feeling at any given moment, running is going to make you feel even better. What’s the catch? While doing a physical activity, your body secretes the increased level of endocannabinoids and endorphins — endogenous “feel-good” chemicals produced by the pituitary gland and the central nervous system that act as the body’s own natural antidepressants. Aside from quelling the pain, endorphins also enhance the immune system, slow down the aging process, and play a big role in relieving stress and anxiety.
In the Journal of Adolescent Health from 2012, this study shows that 30-minutes of running during the week for three weeks had a positive impact on concentration, mood and sleep quality in healthy adolescents.
Improves Social Interaction
Meeting colleagues and friends for a run is a great way of encouraging social interaction that will help you stay motivated to exercise consistently. Group running allows you to make new friends and it brings a lot of benefits. A running group may help improve social interactions, as well as may help reduce stress in socially demanding situations. Most runners find it easier to deal with harder workouts if you run with a group, as the running partners provide necessary motivation and accountability at every level of training. Furthermore, running and other training groups may help you feel better about yourself and get faster at the same time. You can find running buddies either in running clubs, gyms, on running trails, or by participating in the organized races.
Running is considered to be one of the best stress reducer. If you lead a stressful and hectic lifestyle, running could be your friend. Regular runners generally have more stress-free lives and are happier than physically inactive people.
Take time, at least twenty minutes, for a run when you feel stressed in order to decrease your anxiety level. You can practice this stress-free activity either in the morning or after a hard day. Combined with warm showers, it works even better. Taking the shower after a run can benefit you mentally, making you feel relaxed and free from your worries for a while.
As mentioned earlier, running has a positive impact on sleep quality. Insomnia (i.e. habitual sleeplessness) can be a symptom of depression and other health issues. It has been proven that regular exercise can both increase sleep duration and improve sleep quality. Early morning, as well as afternoon exercise, can also help you reset the sleep-wake cycle. Those who run or exercise on a regular basis have more regular transitions between two consecutive sleep cycles, and thus a better sleep.
Improves Your Confidence Level
Another great mental benefit of running is boosting your confidence level. Lack of confidence often leads to reduced motivation and tension. With each running workout, self-confidence grows as you gather evidence of your determination and resilience. By developing confidence and creating a good body image of yourself, you are likely to increase self-esteem too. Just work on it!
Regular physical activity brings a variety of benefits and it could be the key to preventing some health issues in the initial phase. Therefore, practice running whenever you can and you’ll be surprised at how much it benefits you mentally.