Playing sports? You’re running. Whether it’s short sprints, running down a field outside, or running up and down the court inside, you’re still running.
We all hate it. It can be gruesome. It feels never ending.
What we don’t necessarily think about is how GOOD it is. How GOOD it can be for you, physically AND mentally. We don’t think about that because we just think about how much it stinks to be running right now. Asking yourself why you’re doing it. Why are you running?
Are you trying to stay in shape? Is it your excuse to enjoy the nice outside weather? Are you playing a sport that requires you to run?
But here’s the bigger question… Are you choosing to run because you want to or because you think you have to?
People Are Built To Run
Spending 30 minutes on a treadmill is enough to lift the mood of someone suffering from major depressive disorder, according to a study published in the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Even participants who moved at a walking pace have been known to receive the same mood-lifting benefit. This shows that no matter what pace you’re going, moving has positive effects and adds to the already significant amount of research showing that running and other forms of exercise can improve someone’s mood and help fight depression.
Another Thing I Realized
after picking up running was how much more relaxed I was when it came to work, home life, and just living in general. Running helps rewire the brain in a sense where you become more resistant to stress. Researchers think this may be because aerobic exercise increases levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, and causes the brain to generate new neurons after exercise.
Getting used to the idea of running, even if you haven’t done it in a while or ever, can be brutal. Trust me, after 20 years of playing sports that only required short sprints, I used to hate the idea of running. It wasn’t until this past summer that I really started to love being outside and taking in the sunlight and fresh air while running 3-4 miles every day. There’s something about the rush you get while you’re out there exerting the energy you have, and coming back with a huge sigh of relief like all your worries in the world are gone. The adrenaline rush just takes over and you feel invincible; even if it’s for just a short period of time, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
With running came less stress, and I also found myself sleeping better through the night. I woke up with more energy and I was ready to attack the day ahead of me. Studies have been found to sleep better in general (more hours of sleep per night), which led to improve psychological functioning as well as focusing more on tasks at hand during the day. These studies included people with an average age of 18, but these benefits are likely to apply to runners of any age.
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