Exercise affects not only your body, but your mind as well. Specifically, running or any other type of cardio, can give you what’s called an endorphin rush or what’s called a runners high. If you have ever run before, you may remember the feeling. Even if you were tired before your run, afterwards you likely had an energy boost that lasted all day.
For a lot of people though just getting out the door, or onto the treadmill, can be the biggest mental hurdle to overcome. Here are some of the reasons that you should push through that mental barrier and get at that run.
The Benefits of Running
Running Reduces Stress Levels
Whether we realize it or not, we all have some stress. You’d be surprised at just how much stress you might be carrying around without even realizing it. Getting in just a couple of short runs each week can make an enormous difference in your stress level, and you’ll begin to notice the change.
Running allows you to clear your mind by focusing on your breathing, stride, and even the landscape around you if you’re an outdoor runner. Use your runs to clear your mind and just focus on your run. When you’re done running, you’ll find that your stress level is lower and you’re able to focus more on the important tasks.
Running boosts Self-Esteem
You’ve likely seen the internet meme about what a person thinks they look like while running versus what they actually look like when running. While the meme is hilarious, what’s amazingly true is that we do feel our best while running. We feel like we can conquer the world.
When done on a regular basis, this increased self-esteem will carry over into your non-running life. You start to feel good about yourself, and might even make other changes in your life to help support your new running habit.
Running Reduces Depression
Remember that runner’s high from earlier? All those endorphins help reduce depression by creating a euphoric feeling known as that runners high. Endorphins also act as an analgesic (pain reliever) and a sedative. These all come together to make you feel good and reduce any depression you might have.
Running Sets You Free
Running is a great way to feel free – you can literally leave it all behind for 30-60 minutes while you get a run in. If you run outside, you can also take advantage of being able to pick up your pace or slow it down as you see fit. You can also explore new routes if you like.
The silence that comes with a run can feel amazing. You’ll be able to forget about your yelling boss, your noisy kids, or anyone else that creates a lot of noise in your life. That silent space in your head while you run is something that is hard to find in these noisy modern times.
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Photo Credit: “New Years Resolution” by Sam JR is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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