Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, people’s mental health has come to the fore like never before. The lockdowns, the grieving loved ones, and the general miasma of uncertainty have a huge impact on people’s emotional state, triggering depression and anxiety. If you are suffering from it, know that you are not alone.
While it’s always recommended to seek professional help to cope with difficult life situations, one amazing way to help yourself is to get some physical exercise. Believe it or not, running does wonders for your body, meaning you can use the activity to lose calories, boost your cardiovascular health, and relax.
However, there are certain psychological benefits of running that are worth paying heed to. Let’s check them out below:
Releases happy and relaxing hormones
Running is seen to release endorphins, which are hormones responsible for elevating your mood. It’s also said to increase the release of endocannabinoids in the body—the chemical responsible for creating the euphoric state called the “runner’s high” in intense marathon runners. The chemical can permeate cellular barriers to promote short-term psychoactive reactions, such as reduced stress and anxiety. So, it would be apt to say that even a 30-minute run a day can keep depression and negative feelings at bay.
Relaxes your body
A healthy body is the key to a healthy and happy mind. Running is traditionally known to open muscle blockages and improve blood circulation. The whole process pumps in more oxygenated blood and ensures that essential nutrients reach each cell of your body and brain. Any tension in your muscles opens up, and you feel your body becoming lighter. Such bodily activity, when coupled with the anti-depressive effects of endorphins and endocannabinoids, can greatly improve your mental health. You will be less prone to physical ailments, and you will be better able to relish the beauty of life.
Improves brain performance
As the mind and body are connected, the cardiovascular benefit of running regularly translates into long-term mental wellbeing. Running can trigger the growth of brain-nourishing blood vessels in certain parts through neurogenesis. This process is seen to bring about significant improvement in brain functions and deters cognitive decline. Running can activate the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. That being said, you can surely witness a noticeable improvement in your focus and working memory if you make running a part of your routine.
If you are suffering from poor mental health, your professional counsellor will definitely urge you to create an exercise regime. Do make running a part of it because the benefits of it are plenty. From keeping your body and brain healthy to flushing you with vital naturally-occurring chemicals, running is surely a great promoter of physical and mental wellbeing.