It’s probably not shocking to anyone at this point that running is great for both physical health and mental wellbeing. As a recent convert to daily runs, I can attest to the fact that it has been helping stabilizing my mood in a big way. I will also say that up until my recent shift, I absolutely hated running. My hope is that this post brings you a bit of motivation by way of science and personal testimonial!
Benefits Of Running:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- May help to ease feelings of loneliness or isolation
- Improves sleep
- Can act in the same way an anti-depressant would to the brain
When you run, blood circulation to the brain is increased and endocannabinoids are released into the bloodstream, improving feelings of happiness, relaxation, and calm. I began running to alleviate the depression and high levels of anxiety I was feeling, and although I can’t say I am completely cured of those things, my morning run definitely helps to center me and make the looming anxiety feel less overwhelming. Whether this is something you also deal with or not, running improves quality of life in many ways.
Tips To Begin A Running Habit:
- Lay your running outfit and shoes by the door the night before
- Try speed walking for 10-15 minutes before you run to ease yourself in
- Give yourself a goal – plan to run a mile and if you decide you can do more after that, keep going!
- Prep your playlist or favorite podcast beforehand so you have stimulation to look forward to
- Keep a simple “mood” log on days that you run so you can track how it is affecting your mental health
- Plan a treat for meeting your goal – gift yourself a new running top or leggings after every 20 runs!
Written by GUADS staff member Kate with contributions from webmd.com