14 Surprising Brain Benefits of Running That You Should Know

Surprising Brain Benefits of Running

Watch out this video to know how running can turn on your brain:


6. Running helps you deal with negative emotions

Millennials are so anxious and unhappy, they seek psychotherapy more often than members of earlier generations. They have to deal with lots of negative emotions, not just restricted to job, money, or marriage. Running can hasten emotional recovery and boost emotional flexibility. 

Emily Bernstein who is a runner and Richard McNally examined if aerobic workouts help in reducing the negative emotions. They asked their participants to run or jog for 30 minutes and then were shown a sad movie scene from the movie The Champ.  Upon comparing the emotional responses, the joggers were found to recover quickly from the sad emotional experience than those who did not run.

Related: 4 Ways To Cope With Negative Emotions


7. Running can shut out distractions

Running is a powerful tool to help you focus and gain control over your attention according to Martynoga. It means if you are seriously working on a very important presentation, you can very well block out distractions. 

After comparing the results of experiments involving runners and nonrunners, who participated in tasks that require them to control their attention, researchers found a very clear effect. Both old and young participants in the running group could tune into what they have to do despite background noises.

“Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going.” — Unknown


8. Running Can dissipate Stress

Longer-lasting stress relief is another most surprising benefits of running or jogging. This aerobic exercise increases resilience and enables people to better handle the challenges of life.  

According to research published in Clinical Psychology Review, aerobic exercise increases the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine and causes the brain to generate new neurons. These neurotransmitters are also called happy hormones as they induce happiness and positive feelings.

The reason relates to the study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, which highlighted that running lower the level of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in our body.

Running leaves you clear-headed, because of an increase in overall blood flow and supply of fresh energy and oxygen to our minds. This is why we feel good and think better after the workout. Why not worry less and run more if that makes your brain more resistant to stress?

Related:12 Symptoms of Post Relationship Stress Disorder

“Long distance running is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.” – Rich Davis


9. Running can lift symptoms of depression

Depression is the worst enemy of the present-day youth. World Health Organisation declared depression is the third leading cause of disability and disease worldwide.

One study published in the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine revealed that even a 30-minute run can lift the mood of someone suffering from major depressive disorders. People who go at a walking pace can enjoy the same benefits, the researchers confirmed. A simple mechanism here is running provides flow states, in which the parts of your brain associated with identity and fear are tamped down.

When patients were subjected to a running program. They reported less tension,  fatigue, depression and less confusion. The participants reported that they could focus better and see something besides their depressed state of addiction. 

But that doesn’t mean running can be prescribed as an antidepressant. Because a 2013 study highlighted that exercise was moderately more effective than no therapy but not more effective than antidepressants. 

If not as an antidepressant, running, that can wipe stress can surely prevent depression in healthy individuals. 

Related: Music Therapy for depression – how can it heal you?


10. Running helps you sleep better 

Bad habits like alcohol abuse and various medical illnesses like diabetes, heart ailments or severe stress can cause sleep deprivation.  Since running kills stress hormones and improves mood by lifting the symptoms of anxiety and depression, it helps you sleep better. 

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