Running a Powerful Prescription for Boosting Mood
1. Reduce stress. Running can help manage stress by increasing the concentration of norepinephrine in your brain, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So go ahead and get sweaty — working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension.
2. Releases happy brain chemicals. Running releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can alleviate symptoms of low mood among clinically depressed individuals. The research is showing that exercise can be as affective as antidepressants in treating depression.
3. Improve self-confidence. Running promotes physical and mental self-worth! Running (all physical fitness) can boost self-esteem and increase positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her body. Running =Self-love!
4. Improved sleep. A moderate run workout can have (in some individuals) the equivalent effect of a sleeping pill, even for someone dealing with insomnia.
5. Social interaction. Being part of a run group or having a run buddy provides important social time. Typically you are interacting with likeminded and positive people. The social aspect of running is a key element in improving feelings of low mood. Perk: you always have people to grab coffee with after the run!
6. Sense of mastery. Studies have found that daily goals in the form of positive activities can help alleviate depression. By running a couple of times a week, you can set yourself weekly goals, whether it be simply putting your trainers on and getting out of the house, running for 30 minutes without stopping, or beating your PB. Entering a race is also a great way to set a goal to work towards.
7. Boosts brainpower. Most cross-sectional studies show that older adults who are fit display better cognitive performance than those who are less fit. Further, studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
8. Calming effect. Running increases body temperature which can have a calming effect on the body. This is another way that running can reduce stress and anxiety.
9. Mind-body element. Activities that connect the mind-body provide a rest for your mind and increase energy for your body (yoga, tai chi). You can achieve this in running by adding a meditative element, such as, repeating a mantra as you run.
10. Be more productive. Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. So take the time to go for your run (even if you fit it in on your lunch break) you might get as much done or more!!