Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Will Running Help with Depression?

Recently, someone asked me "Will Running Help with Depression?".  Without hesitation, I responded with a solid "YES!"  I've been running since 1983 and during that time, I've had to battle a lot of personal issues that would depress anyone.  In fact, looking back, it would be easy to say that I wasn't running for something, but rather running away from my problems.  Actually, while I may have been running away from problems, I was at the same time running toward solutions.

I could go into how running releases natural pain killers called endorphins, but I won't get into the scientific aspects.  Let's just say that running has always given me a sense of well being.  When I'm done with a run - even one that didn't go so well, I still have a sense that I've done something.  Completed something.  I feel proud of myself for getting out there and trying. 

Running also clears my mind.  I think better when I run.  Maybe it's the hypnotic sound of my rhythmic steps and breathing.  Maybe it's the fresh air.  Perhaps it's the sounds of nature as I run along a river or on a trail deep in the woods.  Regardless, I feel free when I run.

In essence, I personally would recommend running any day of the week over drugs or therapy.  I'm sure many will disagree with me on that, but that is how strongly I feel about running.  Keep in mind, I'm talking about feeling down and sad.  If someone were suicidal, or otherwise extremely depressed, naturally I would recommend professional help.  However, I'm talking about the majority of people.  The ones who life just pushes around sometimes.  Maybe more than it should.  Without running as an outlet, I'm not sure how I would have made it this far in life. 

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