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How Can Running Help Your Mental Health

Exercise can do much more than improve our physicality and endurance. Studies have shown that it can also be an effective tool to battling certain mental health issues.

Whether you are dealing with anxiety or simply need the kind of focus to improve your mental health, breaking a sweat can be the answer. But how exactly can running benefit your brain?

1.     Reducing Stress

When life is stressful, exercise is generally the last thing on our mind. The more stressed we become the more we want to hide away but running can be your new ally in combating the negative effects of stress.

Stress and anxiety can manifest in a range of physical symptoms including tension, difficulties sleeping and rumination on negative thoughts. Running helps our bodies relax, decreasing these worries, anxieties and negative thought cycles.

2.     Combating Depression

Depression makes us feel sluggish and withdrawn, making running seemingly impossible at times. However, research suggests that running can be a leading technique in managing the symptoms of depression.

Depression is a state of mind, characterised by negative thoughts about oneself, negative predictions about the future and an overall lack of desire to engage with the world. Depression makes us want to withdraw from life - acting opposite to these negative emotions is the first step in breaking the negative cycle and running can be the catalyst for this positive change. Exercise has been shown to be as effective for depression as some forms of psychological therapy.

3.     Aiding Sleep

Night is when negative thoughts tend to run riot. Lying in bed trying to induce sleep is one of the major problems for those with mental health issues and chances are missing out on sleep is going to add to your problems.

Intense physical activity has a positive impact on alleviating the inability to sleep. Running helps regulate circadian rhythms which in turn helps us achieve longer and more restful sleep.

4.     Increasing Mindfulness

Being able to focus your mind on the present instead of letting it play out a montage of your most awkward and embarrassing moments is highly important in combatting negative thought processes that can paralyse us socially.

Running is an activity which practises this mindfulness by focusing our attention, connecting us with our physical self and refocusing our attention on our body rather than on unhelpful thoughts.

Training for running events is a great way to help improve everyone’s metal health as well as our physical wellbeing. 

21st September 2018, 8:58
Page updated 21st Sep 2018, 08:58
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