9 Mental and Physical Benefits of Running

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Any physical activity promotes wellness. The body works best when doing activities and being pushed to its limits. The body is there to perform physical tasks, and running is one of its most natural activities. Running helps you break a sweat and is a cardiovascular activity that promotes heart health. Strengthening the heart through physical exercise helps you stay focused and helps with mental clarity in the long term since physical and mental health are closely linked.

If you are ever physically stressing or are in need of releasing some endorphins to give yourself a sense of calmness and mental high, lace up your running shoes and start running. The following are just some of the mental and physical benefits of running:

1- You Are Happier When You Run

Running helps people get away from the blues, especially when they have durable foot protection. People feel better when they run, and this is because they release chemical endorphins in the brain. These chemicals are vital in mitigating depression in people. Endorphins are there to react to brain receptors to reduce pain perceptions. Endorphins also help promote positive feelings in the body, similar to taking morphine.

Physical activity like running can be addictive, but in a good way, because it helps release these chemicals that promote good feelings. In a way, running can be as good as psychotherapy in reducing depression. In a study, participants were assigned to a running group, a Cognitive-behavioral group, and a group that received both interventions. In the results, all three groups had lowered depression, prompting researchers to conclude that running is a great intervention for depression.

2- You Become Smarter When You Run

Physical activity has a direct impact on mental health when it makes you smarter. In the case of running, especially when you have comfortable footwear, it really helps in agility, not just in the limbs, but in the brain as well. A study has shown that low-impact running to high-intensity running can significantly impact learning and retaining new information and vocabulary. The results are even better when people do intense and more challenging running routines. The reason for this is that physical activity increases the protein BDNF, otherwise knowns as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and the neurotransmitter catecholamine. These two chemicals have a significant role in cognitive thinking and the learning functions of the brain, making the brain of runners just that more agile.

3- Running Makes Your Brain Younger

Do you feel lighter and younger just after you’ve had a brisk run? Chances are, it’s not just your body that is feeling these effects, but also your brain. People who run have younger brains, even among the elderly. A study of the brains of older people who run shows that they have lower brain shrinkage. In a test of cognitive abilities, elderly people who were more physically active scored higher in brain games.

4- Running Reduces Your Desire For Junk Food And Other Unhealthy Habits

Running releases endorphins, which trigger the reward systems of the brain and gives you a body high. The result of this is very encouraging since you will lose your desire for satisfying but unhealthy food choices such as junk food, as well as high-fat and high-sugar diets. With people who are addicted to unhealthy substances such as nicotine and cocaine, studies have also found that running on a treadmill has helped them control their addictions and their cravings for these substances. The same is true for people who are addicted to alcohol.

5- Running Improves Knee Health

Many runners may suffer from knee injuries, but running is not the cause of knee pain. In fact, running has many benefits to keep the body strong and the limbs flexible. Regular running strengthens the bones and helps people maintain their ideal BMI index. BMI is a person’s ideal weight relative to their height, and it should be within a certain range for a person to be physically healthy. Commit to running regularly, and run even if it’s raining.

6- Running Improves Heart Health

It can stave off many cardiovascular diseases and improve overall heart health. This is because the heart is a muscle that also requires a lot of activity and exercise. The more you exercise your heart, the stronger it becomes. Some studies have suggested that exercising for even just a few minutes each day can add years to one’s life. This is how important cardio and running is for a healthy life. Although there has been some speculation that ultramarathon runners get scars in their heart, this hasn’t been conclusively proven. In fact, people who run more miles in a week have healthier hearts compared to people who ran less.

7- Runners Have Strong Lungs

Runners have strong lungs and have increased lung capacity from running mile after mile. Having strengthened lungs is good to have proper and relaxed breathing throughout your life cycle. Increased lung capacity also means you will be able to withstand longer hours of cardio training and this means you will be able to run longer miles compared to someone with average lung capacity.

8- Runners Have Low Blood Pressure

When you run, your arterial walls expand and contract. Arterial walls are like muscles in themselves and the more they are used, the fitter they become. It keeps your arterial walls in constant use so they will be fitter, and keeping your blood pressure within the normal range.

9- Runners Can control Their Weight More

You can count on running to control mega calories. Using nothing but the physical force of your body to run can cause you to sweat and burn all that fat. Running is one of the best cardio exercises out there. Of course, it doesn’t give you the right to eat to your heart’s content. You are still required to combine cardio running with a healthy meal to keep your weight in optimum levels.

Final Thoughts

Physical activities give people a high that is rewarding and addictive in a good way. Mental clarity and physical health are just some of the benefits of running, along with a healthier heart. It’s an easy exercise to perform and is one of the best things to do to help improve overall performance and increase one’s longevity.

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