Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Mental Health Benefits of Running

Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll look at some of the different ways that running can help you in life. These will include mental benefits, heart health, weight management and longevity.

Did you know that running is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health? Studies have shown that running can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall mood and self-esteem.

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, running for just 30 minutes a day can be as effective as medication in reducing symptoms of depression. Additionally, running releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Personally, I grew up in a hostile environment at home and running was my only way of keeping sane. I would channel all my anxiety, frustration, anger and resentment into my runs. I honestly don't know what I would have done without Track and Cross Country to help me during those dark times. 

What about things like ADHD? Yes, running can help with ADHD by reducing symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Exercise, including running, has been shown to improve executive function and cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD.

One study conducted by the University of Illinois found that just 20 minutes of exercise improved attention and reading comprehension in children with ADHD. Another study by the University of Georgia found that exercise, including running, improved working memory and cognitive flexibility in young adults with ADHD.

As a running coach, I can help you develop a personalized running plan that not only improves your physical health, but also helps you reap the mental health benefits of running. Let's get started today!

Next week, we’ll look into how running can help keep your heart healthy.

If you'd like to learn more about running and ADHD, here are the articles referenced above:

Gapin, J. I., Etnier, J. L., & Cauraugh, J. H. (2011). The effects of physical activity on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms: the evidence. Preventive medicine, 52, S70-S74. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.022

Medcalf, R., & Michie, P. T. (2015). The effect of acute aerobic exercise on cognition and EEG in children with ADHD. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47(3), 559-567. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000436

Ratey, J. J., & Loehr, J. E. (2011). The positive impact of physical activity on cognition during adulthood: a review of underlying mechanisms, evidence and recommendations. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 22(2), 171-185. doi: 10.1515/RNS.2011.017

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