5 Reasons Why Running Can Lift Your Mood

When it comes to exercise, it is no secret that running is good for the body. And while you may be running to burn calories, improve your cardiovascular health and take care of your physical body, do you know that you're also taking care of your mind and mental health?

Any runner will tell you how much they love running and how it makes them feel so happy. This is because running has the ability to lift your mood and make you feel good. Inspired to find out why?

Let’s discuss!

  1. Running boosts endorphins: Running, like any other vigorous exercise, causes our body to produce the chemical feel-good hormone called endorphins. As endorphins are introduced in our brain and nervous system, it makes us feel happier and more energetic. For years, runners have spoken about the great feeling of "runner's high". As you begin running, your heart starts pumping harder and pushes blood at a faster rate through your body. Your respiratory system also starts working harder and as you push yourself for vigorous exercise, your body starts releasing endorphins. The release of endorphins acts as a stimulant in the body, resulting in what one may call a natural high making one feel happy and relaxed. 
  2. Running reduces stress and anxiety: On a neurochemical basis, there are various benefits of running. According to studies, as little as one workout can cause a change in a person's anxiety level. A poll conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that 20% of the surveyed adults preferred running to work on combating stress. Running releases endorphins and promotes changes in the brain that simultaneously induces sharp thinking while quieting overactivity caused by anxiety and stress. 

  3. Running improves cognitive function and clarity: When you run, your heart rate increases. This triggers the release of noradrenaline resulting in an improvement in cognitive function. Studies suggest that running results in increased oxygen to the prefrontal cortex regions and can change the brain chemistry in the part of the brain responsible for cognitive function. This may translate to more mental clarity, less brain fog, increased attention span, reduced impulsivity, and better decision making. 

  4. Running supports sleep: Exercise is known to increase the amount of slow-wave sleep aka the deep sleep where the body and brain have a chance to rejuvenate themselves. Running as an exercise can also help in stabilizing your mood and decompressing the mind. The chemicals released during and after running helps the body to relax and encourage deep sleep. Regular running is also known to help runners in setting sleeping routines in place. Having a regular sleep routine is good for the brain and your mental health. 
  5. Running boosts self-confidence & self-image: Running requires stamina, discipline, motivation, and drive. Inculcating a habit of running could mean a lot of effort for some people. Being able to complete a few runs regularly will leave you feeling proud of your efforts and give you a sense of achievement, boost your self-confidence, and empower you to take better care of your health and fitness. Additional changes such as weight loss and improved muscle tone may also improve one's self-image.

Running promotes healthy living by usually motivating runners to enhance their efforts with nourishing food. It provides an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, which is not just an excellent chance to soak in some vitamin D but it also promotes mental well-being. Most essentially, it gives you some much-needed time off from the stresses of regular life.

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