Can Running Affect a Person’s Mental Health?

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Running is considered as one of the most effective cardio workouts. It strengthens your heart and your arteries while burning fat and keeping you in shape. In addition to the physical health advantages, running can bring a number of mental health benefits.

Running fights off anxiety

When you run, your body produces a hormone called endorphins, which have the same effect as anti-depressants. Endorphins suppress the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, thus reducing stress and depression. Running not only relieves your stress but also makes you less likely to be affected by stress in the future. People who suffer from panic disorders will benefit greatly from running.

Running helps you sleep better

Depression usually comes with sleep deprivation, which will worsen your condition. Running improves the quality of your sleep. The amount of physical engagement you have during the day decides the degree of relaxation your body get in the bed. You may already notice this, the more active you are, the better you sleep. However, you should not run before going to sleep. It is ideal to run in the morning or early evening to get the most out of your effort. Aim for three to four running sessions per week, with about thirty minutes each session.

Running keeps you sharp

Your brain will slow down as you grow older and older. There will come a point when you cannot think as fast as you could, and your memories will erode. Running cannot stop time or reverse aging, but it definitely helps improve cognitive skills by increasing blood flow to the brain and promote overall blood circulation. Those who run regularly tend to have better judgment, sharper mind, and longer attention span when they get old, comparing with the ones who stay physically inactive in their adulthood.

Running boost your appetite

A poor appetite can badly affect your mood, even contribute to stress and depression. Both physical and mental health relies on a healthy diet. Running stimulates the release of ghrelin and peptide YY, hormones that make you hungry. This could be the result of your body asking for more food to compensate for the calories you burn while running. You should be careful with your eating habits, though. Even if you run, you are supposed to follow a balanced diet.

If you are feeling blue lately, or you have trouble sleeping or eating, you may want to try running. You will be amazed at how happier and healthier you feel after a few weeks of consistent running.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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