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How running can boost your mood

Persons trainers running

Running is something a lot more of us dabbled into over the three previous lockdowns as gyms closed their doors and group activities were off the cards. Running is one of the best forms of exercise and not only does it improve fitness and enable us to get out and about in our local area, but it can also really improve our mood and wellbeing.

There are many reasons why running can boost your mood and wellbeing and, in this article, we will be getting top tips and suggestions from avid runners to understand the importance of running for our cognitive function and overall mind and body health.

Running releases endorphins

Person running near beach

Much like a spa break in West Yorkshire is important to keep the health of our body in check, so is running. Running is an amazing way to instantly boost your mood as the body releases endorphins when being exercised. Food Spring explains a little more about the benefits of endorphins on their website, saying: “There’s a reason we’ve all heard of a runner’s high. Aerobic exercise releases a bunch of endorphins that put us into this elusive state, more so than any other workout. That’s because overcoming long distances, despite pain and exhaustion, produces an especially large endorphin release in the blood whether you’re moving quickly or slowly.”

As the team at Food Spring explain, endorphins are our bodies way of allowing our body to recover after a lot of physical stress and endurance. The team at the blog Run Mummy Run told us a little bit more about the benefits of running and how endorphins make running a great activity for giving your mood a boost:

“We think that running is a great tool for lifting your mood and improving your wellbeing. Physically, doing exercise helps to release endorphins – feel-good chemicals – which can trigger feelings of positivity and contribute to stress reduction. We find that running has huge benefits for our mental health too; it gives us time away from the day-to-day stresses of life, a chance to think and get some headspace, and to connect with the natural world around us. At its heart, running is quite a simple sport; we can lace up and head out the door whenever we need to for a quick boost to our mindset. There is also a wonderful and diverse running community (from online groups like Run Mummy Run to local clubs and parkrun events), meaning it can also be quite social, and we find that connecting with like-minded people over common interests also helps to improve our wellbeing.”

Running builds self-confidence

Couple running

Another way that getting out and about in your trainers improves your overall mood and wellbeing is that it allows us to slowly build self-confidence. Running is a hard sport and people can often feel quickly deflated if they aren’t making progress or they find it hard at the beginning, but this is completely normal!

If you have never run before, you are coming back from an injury or you have just had a break then don’t be disheartened after the first few runs, allow yourself time to get into a routine and you will slowly but surely start to see results, another way that running can improve our mood.

The blog Run With Caroline offers lots of great tips and tricks for first-time runners and she explains a little more about building confidence when running on her website, saying: “Running and self-confidence go hand in hand. Whether you’re a beginner runner or more advanced, it’s only natural to doubt your abilities as a runner. I’ve heard this so many times from beginner runners. It saddens me to think that people think they have to run a certain number of miles or run their first race before they can call themselves a runner. I work with a lot of beginner runners whose running confidence is through the floor when I first meet them. But as soon as they get out there and get a few runs under their belt, their confidence soon starts to grow. The truth is, as soon as you step out for your first run, you’re a runner! Plain. And. Simple. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, how far you go or whether you do it in the latest running gear. As long as you’re running, you’re a runner.”

Improves cognitive function

Couple running close up

Running is also known as a great way to get our brains stimulated and ready for the day ahead. If you have a big day ahead at the office or you have an important meeting and want to feel your best, then getting your running shoes on and heading out is a great way to achieve this. Shaun the founder of Let’s Get Running has spoken to us about how running can improve our cognitive function.

“Outdoor aerobic exercise has significant physiological and mental health benefits. There are a host of reasons for this, from the abundance of fresh air and 'connection with nature to improved respiratory and cardiovascular function. In the long term, research suggests running has both an anti-depressive effect, and improves cognitive function, stimulating brain cell growth (neurogenesis) in areas of the brain responsible for memory and problem-solving. I love running because the efforts YOU make are directly rewarded - you gradually feel fitter, more clear-headed and gain a strong sense of accomplishment from the improvements you make.”

There are also other ways running can affect and help our brain and its functions, running is known to jog our memory. Many studies have been undertaken that show running is a great benefit to those who are trying to improve their memory or remember past memories that they may have forgotten.

Overall, running is hugely beneficial to our mind and body and is a great way to boost mood, wellbeing and keep our minds in check, so why not get your trainers on and give it a go?

How running can boost your mood:

Running releases endorphins

Running builds self-confidence

Improves cognitive function