The Mental Health Benefits Of Running

The Mental Health Benefits of Running

Runner’s High – How Is Running Good for Mental Health?

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to love running and never miss a session even while on holiday? Is there something wrong with these people who seem obsessed with hitting the road at every opportunity, or is it just you?

The only difference between those who run and those who don’t is that the former have discovered the enormous health benefits of this type of exercise.

Keep reading to explore how your brain could benefit from a little legwork.

What Is a Runner’s High?

A runner’s high is a spell of euphoria experienced after running or any kind of physical exertion. It’s a feeling of calm relaxation that stays with you for a few minutes after intense exercise.

Not everyone gets to experience the full effect of a runner’s high. Yet, many studies show how most people experience a brief, less intense form of this enjoyment after running.

How Does Running Boost Your State of Mind?

Aerobic exercise releases a flood of endorphins into your bloodstream. These pain-killing enzymes also produce feelings of pleasure and well-being.

In this way, endorphins help you continue your exertions for longer, despite aching muscles and a flagging spirit.

The more you run, the more endorphins your body generates, so it’s worth sticking out the first few minutes until they kick in.

Other research suggests that the endocannabinoid system (ECR) might have more to do with this feeling of well-being than endorphins do. That’s because endorphin molecules are too large to cross the blood-brain barrier easily, while endocannabinoids are small enough to make this transition.

The ECR is present in all mammals and helps keep the body on an even keel by producing endocannabinoids to help it cope in moments of duress.

So basically, when you place your body under stress through physical exertion, the ECR springs into action to reassure your mind that everything’s okay and help you push through.

There are hundreds of different types of endocannabinoids, but one, called anandamide, has been found in the blood of test subjects after running for a specified time.

Botanical substances like CBD and THC interact with the ECR to boost the endocannabinoids that soothe anxiety, trigger feelings of euphoria, and decrease the body’s stress response.

Anandamide can reduce anxiety while promoting a sense of calm euphoria.

Whether it’s endorphins or anandamide that does the trick, there’s no denying that aerobic exercise can lift your spirit and refresh energy levels.

More Mental Benefits of Running

One of the best benefits of running is that it’s usually a solitary activity. Even when running with a friend, you can’t really make small talk unless you’re super, super, fit.

That means running gives you time to retreat from social interaction for a while and spend some time with yourself. It’s the ideal opportunity for uninterrupted reflection, daydreaming, and decision-making.

This simple act of escaping from the outside world for a spell can help reduce stress by decreasing mental stimulation and arousal. Since running isn’t particularly technical, you can do it on ‘auto-pilot’, leaving your mind free to wander at will.

In this way, running helps you gain perspective on issues that might be troubling you, helping to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.

When you run, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder to pump oxygen into your bloodstream. Your brain is also a recipient of this rapidly pumping, heavily oxygenated blood.

An influx of blood helps nourish the brain and ultimately leads to new blood vessels that encourage brain cell health. Some studies suggest that running can even spark your brain to generate more grey matter.

This helps improve brain function and also prevents the kind of brain decay that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Studies show that regular runners have a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. A bigger hippocampus means better focus and memory, improved mood, and enhanced task-switching ability.

Exercise also releases a flood of feel-good dopamine into the brain. This neurotransmitter, often associated with chocolate, red wine, and other good things, creates feelings of well-being, putting paid to depression and anxiety.

Indirect Mental Benefits of Running

Running burns calories at a rate of knots, and your body continues to burn them for a time after you stop exerting yourself. When you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose unwanted body fat.

It also strengthens your muscles and lengthens muscle fibres, resulting in better flexibility and a leaner more toned appearance.

The more you run, the stronger your cardiovascular system becomes, meaning you can run for longer. The longer you run for, the more you increase your fitness and heart health.

What’s more, exercise is long associated with improved immunity and overall health. When combined with a balanced nutritious diet, exercise is an unbeatable pastime for improving almost every aspect of your health.

Now, these might not seem like mental benefits, but wouldn’t you feel a lot better about yourself if you knew you were getting fitter and healthier every time you headed out for a run? Wouldn’t your self-image improve along with your appearance?

Of course, it would! In this way, running is directly related to the self-esteem and self-confidence which is so vital to good mental health and the self-belief necessary for goal-setting and success.

Commit to Your Happiness

When you take up regular cardiovascular exercise and implement a healthy eating plan, you can rest assured you’re doing everything you can to ensure your ongoing happiness.

Almost everyone can take part in some form of cardiovascular exercise, especially running. You don’t need any specialized equipment to get started and you can take your running shoes and enjoy a run almost anywhere.

Why not find out some more about running and other types of exercise by browsing our fitness blog and get started with a healthy living plan that suits you?

 

1 Comment

  1. Annelie

    My husband and I both are runner, but straggling to find the right meal plan.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

The Mental Health Benefits of Running

Runner’s High – How Is Running Good for Mental Health?

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to love running and never miss a session even while on holiday? Is there something wrong with these people who seem obsessed with hitting the road at every opportunity, or is it just you?

The only difference between those who run and those who don’t is that the former have discovered the enormous health benefits of this type of exercise.

Keep reading to explore how your brain could benefit from a little legwork.

What Is a Runner’s High?

A runner’s high is a spell of euphoria experienced after running or any kind of physical exertion. It’s a feeling of calm relaxation that stays with you for a few minutes after intense exercise.

Not everyone gets to experience the full effect of a runner’s high. Yet, many studies show how most people experience a brief, less intense form of this enjoyment after running.

How Does Running Boost Your State of Mind?

Aerobic exercise releases a flood of endorphins into your bloodstream. These pain-killing enzymes also produce feelings of pleasure and well-being.

In this way, endorphins help you continue your exertions for longer, despite aching muscles and a flagging spirit.

The more you run, the more endorphins your body generates, so it’s worth sticking out the first few minutes until they kick in.

Other research suggests that the endocannabinoid system (ECR) might have more to do with this feeling of well-being than endorphins do. That’s because endorphin molecules are too large to cross the blood-brain barrier easily, while endocannabinoids are small enough to make this transition.

The ECR is present in all mammals and helps keep the body on an even keel by producing endocannabinoids to help it cope in moments of duress.

So basically, when you place your body under stress through physical exertion, the ECR springs into action to reassure your mind that everything’s okay and help you push through.

There are hundreds of different types of endocannabinoids, but one, called anandamide, has been found in the blood of test subjects after running for a specified time.

Botanical substances like CBD and THC interact with the ECR to boost the endocannabinoids that soothe anxiety, trigger feelings of euphoria, and decrease the body’s stress response.

Anandamide can reduce anxiety while promoting a sense of calm euphoria.

Whether it’s endorphins or anandamide that does the trick, there’s no denying that aerobic exercise can lift your spirit and refresh energy levels.

More Mental Benefits of Running

One of the best benefits of running is that it’s usually a solitary activity. Even when running with a friend, you can’t really make small talk unless you’re super, super, fit.

That means running gives you time to retreat from social interaction for a while and spend some time with yourself. It’s the ideal opportunity for uninterrupted reflection, daydreaming, and decision-making.

This simple act of escaping from the outside world for a spell can help reduce stress by decreasing mental stimulation and arousal. Since running isn’t particularly technical, you can do it on ‘auto-pilot’, leaving your mind free to wander at will.

In this way, running helps you gain perspective on issues that might be troubling you, helping to decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.

When you run, your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder to pump oxygen into your bloodstream. Your brain is also a recipient of this rapidly pumping, heavily oxygenated blood.

An influx of blood helps nourish the brain and ultimately leads to new blood vessels that encourage brain cell health. Some studies suggest that running can even spark your brain to generate more grey matter.

This helps improve brain function and also prevents the kind of brain decay that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Studies show that regular runners have a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. A bigger hippocampus means better focus and memory, improved mood, and enhanced task-switching ability.

Exercise also releases a flood of feel-good dopamine into the brain. This neurotransmitter, often associated with chocolate, red wine, and other good things, creates feelings of well-being, putting paid to depression and anxiety.

Indirect Mental Benefits of Running

Running burns calories at a rate of knots, and your body continues to burn them for a time after you stop exerting yourself. When you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose unwanted body fat.

It also strengthens your muscles and lengthens muscle fibres, resulting in better flexibility and a leaner more toned appearance.

The more you run, the stronger your cardiovascular system becomes, meaning you can run for longer. The longer you run for, the more you increase your fitness and heart health.

What’s more, exercise is long associated with improved immunity and overall health. When combined with a balanced nutritious diet, exercise is an unbeatable pastime for improving almost every aspect of your health.

Now, these might not seem like mental benefits, but wouldn’t you feel a lot better about yourself if you knew you were getting fitter and healthier every time you headed out for a run? Wouldn’t your self-image improve along with your appearance?

Of course, it would! In this way, running is directly related to the self-esteem and self-confidence which is so vital to good mental health and the self-belief necessary for goal-setting and success.

Commit to Your Happiness

When you take up regular cardiovascular exercise and implement a healthy eating plan, you can rest assured you’re doing everything you can to ensure your ongoing happiness.

Almost everyone can take part in some form of cardiovascular exercise, especially running. You don’t need any specialized equipment to get started and you can take your running shoes and enjoy a run almost anywhere.

Why not find out some more about running and other types of exercise by browsing our fitness blog and get started with a healthy living plan that suits you?

1 Comment

  1. Annelie

    My husband and I both are runner, but straggling to find the right meal plan.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

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