A great way to gain both physical and mental strength is to make running a part of your workout. A lifestyle that includes running promotes well being and reaps both cognitive and mental benefits. When running, the body releases endogenous opioids, like endorphins, that relieve stress. The feeling some people call a runner’s high is due to the activation of the frontolimbic brain areas that improve mood.
Running also increases personal self esteem and confidence. After conquering a huge distance, individuals feel unstoppable and as if they could accomplish anything. Running can help establish a sense of discipline or motivation that will translate to many different facets of life.
A lot of people also don’t realize how helpful running is to our mental health as well. Along with endorphins, running sparks the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. When running, your brain takes a break from the worries, stress, and anxiety that we sometimes face in every day life. The increased oxygen we are exposed to makes the body more alert and attentive.
Cognitive benefits can also surface from running. Running has been shown to cause structural changes in the hippocampus that lead to increased learning, memory, and neurodegeneration prevention.
If you find you are spending too much time sitting at home and are looking for a new activity, then running is definitely worth a shot! A good run will help you look great, feel balanced, and learn how to channel self discipline and motivation.