The Mental Benefits of Running

The Mental Benefits of Running

November 07, 2019

We have been reminded of the physical benefits of running since childhood. It’s been proven time and time again that it’s good for your body, your cardiovascular health, and that it will burn calories.

But did you know that running is an amazing medicine for your brain, too?

If you’re new to running, or haven’t done it for a long time, this could be hard to believe. I’ve been there: with my feet pounding the streets, only being able to think about how difficult it is and how far I have to go until I can stop.

But once you overcome that barrier - once your body and mind get used to running - you'll start to notice the benefits.

 
In an age where it feels like there’s no escape from the pressures of work and life - especially with the prevalence of smartphones - going out for a run can help you regain a sense of control. You can focus simply on being present in the moment. You can forget about what has happened, or what’s about to happen. You can enter a meditative state by focusing only on your breathing, on how your feet are hitting the ground, and on your surroundings.

It’s no surprise then, that running reaps the same longer-term rewards as meditation, too. Improved focus and improved working memory are two major benefits that scientists are beginning to connect to running. You will notice a huge difference on days where you have gone on a run: you should be able to concentrate better, and think about tasks at hand in a more orderly way.

Going for a run can also help your mood. It is common to feel happier almost immediately after you finish a run due to the “mood-enhancement effect” which is common after most exercise. But research shows that the mental effects extend far beyond the immediate mood-boost: running can actually help alleviate long-term depression.

 

 

Despite all of these benefits, there are many people that are still convinced that they dislike running, because those first few attempts at going out on a run are demanding and challenging. Deciding to stick at it can be the hardest part: there are so many reasons you can think of not to go...

But once you’ve passed that mental barrier, you’ll be so pleased that you did.



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