The physical advantages of running has long been established. Some people run to build muscle, while others run to lose weight. However, aside from the physical impacts running can do to us, there are several psychological benefits of running. Scientific studies found significant improvements in people’s mental health due to this particular physical activity. Here are the 10 benefits.
1. People who run find it easier to deal with anxiety. While running, the activity of serotonin receptors in the brain is greatly reduced thus decreasing anxiety levels and creating an antidepressant effect for many people.
2. Improved IQ. A Swedish study found that people who engage in aerobic exercises such as running have better cognitive functions and memory. This is attributed to the belief that running helps increase the blood flow and circulation to the brain, giving way to the formation of new brain cells.
3. Positive attitude. Runners are found to be more optimistic, more friendly and exude more patience and energy.
4. Running has also been included in addressing clinical depression. It is found that the more people run, the less depressed they feel. It certainly is a good yet cheaper alternative remedy for this disorder.
5. Running also helps in building up stress resistance. Running significantly reduces stress through the excretion of endorphins, often called the happy hormones.
6. Better concentration is also among the psychological benefits of running. Particularly, running outdoors give the individual more focus on the things he has to deal with and is most likely able to come up with solutions to problems.
7. Studies also found that people who run regularly are happier. 72% of them claim that they are happy, while people who said they were only slightly happy or not happy tend not to engage in any physical activity.
8. Running also presents positive self-image and higher confidence. Achieving running milestones, may it be in terms of performance or physical improvements, gives a runner more confidence. The number or calories burned or number of races finished represents the hard work and achievement a runner can be proud of.
9. Furthermore, according to several studies, the endorphins released by the brain during running gives a certain “high”. This so-called “runner’s high” is responsible in making people happy and stress-free. For that reason, running has been popularly integrated in psychological treatments.
10. Running encourages creativity. We may encounter mental blocks from time to time and the best way to shake this off is through indulging in physical activities. Since one is able to concentrate more while running, the mental problem-solving also commences. Furthermore, aside from mood elevation which also greatly helps with creativity, runners find more inspiration especially in their creative endeavors through running.
Indeed, the number of psychological benefits of running are considerable. Not only does it boost the physical body, but also nurture the psychological processes of a person. Running only proves that it is the cheapest and more convenient pill against several psychological issues, and the more a person immerses himself in running, the more he will reap its benefits for the body and the mind.