Mental Benefits of Running

Those who participate in the race and those who train the runners are quick to point out the important psychological benefits of the race. The "runner's high" is a well-documented phenomenon.

In published studies, the runner effect is described as "a sudden and pleasant feeling of euphoria, anxiolysis (reduced anxiety), sedation, and analgesia (inability to feel pain)."

Researchers believe that the condition occurs because the body releases endorphins. The release of a substance called anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid, can also play a role.

Of course, not all races will result in a feeling of euphoria. Even the best-trained runners tend to experience occasional physical and mental discomfort during workouts.

But studies have indicated that a consistent running program is likely to produce substantial psychological benefits, both in the short term and over time.

Improved self esteem

Studies have linked body image and perceived physical fitness to self-esteem. That is, those who are confident in their body and believe they are physically fit are more likely to have better self-esteem.

The researchers also found that physical activity can directly and indirectly improve self-esteem, body image, and perceived physical fitness in adults. For this reason, experts advise a physical activity program for people with low self-esteem18.

Those who choose to run or jog as a physical activity can enjoy even greater benefits.

A study involving 424 non-professional runners who ran more than 28.8 miles per week (on average) showed that 96% of them reported mental and emotional benefits from running.

Sixty-four percent specifically noted that they experienced an improvement in self-confidence as a result of their career.

Another study compared non-elite marathon runners with those who participate in casual races. Interestingly, the study found that marathon runners reported being more self-reliant and assertive, but runners (who didn't complete marathons) were more laid-back.

However, it should be noted that the study was limited in scope and only involved 68 male runners.

Finally, several studies have linked running to higher levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as the belief in a person's ability to be successful in a specific task.

It is a situation-specific form of self-confidence and influences the way people think, feel, motivate and act.17

Better mood

Running has also been associated with improved mood in the general population and in people who have been diagnosed with a mood disorder.

For example, a study published in 2018 investigated the effects of a 12-week running program in adults and children diagnosed with a complex mood disorder. For the study, 46 participants met twice a week and progressed from most walks to most runs.

At the end of the program, they participated in a 5K group race. The weekly sessions also included motivational talks on topics such as mental illness, running strategies, nutrition, and mindfulness.

The researchers found that participation in the running program improved mood symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and stress in adult and youth participants.

The study authors also provided supporting research showing that a single running run can improve mood. However, the researchers recognized the small scope of the study and suggested ongoing studies.

Personal transformation

The challenge of running can provide the opportunity for personal transformation. This experience is often witnessed by coaches who guide runners during physical competitions.

David Silk is the creator of Precision Run, a method-based treadmill class offered in Precision Run Studios and the Equinox + app. According to Silk, running forces you to deal with physical and emotional discomfort in a very real and raw way.

He explains that even for seasoned runners, there is no getting around it or making it easier.

But facing the emotional barrier of running can lead to mental breakthroughs and a greater sense of accomplishment.

In fact, Silk says that he often sees this phenomenon in new runners he trains during classes.

"Running is not easy for anyone," he says, "so when a person can feel uncomfortable with something so honest and real and there are no real shortcuts, they end up facing the emotional barrier of running.

Enjoy Watching This Video About  Mental Benefits of Running

Source:Julie Hanks

 

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