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Regular running can improve your mood after a run. At times, it may even make you feel euphoric. It is proven that physical activity can improve mood. One of the reasons why running feels so good is because of the production of endogenous opioids during a session of exercise. Norepinephrine and dopamine are other neurotransmitters produced during running which contribute to the sensation of happiness and well being.
Most of us know that nutrition and exercise go hand in hand – without one, you're less likely to reach your health goals. With this in mind, runners should focus on nourishing food rather than nullifying their efforts with poor choices. Nutrients including omega-3s, antioxidants, low GI carbs, prebiotics and probiotics have all been linked with improved mental health. Meats, fish, whole grains, dairy, nuts, seeds and a glass of wine or dark chocolate now and again can help you meet your daily requirements.
The mental benefits of running have a neurochemical basis. Firstly, running increases your heart rate, which triggers a release of noradrenaline and endorphins. Secondly, running increases blood flow to the brain, which promotes better cognitive function. Furthermore, studies have shown that exercise promotes changes in the brain that can simultaneously promote sharp thinking and quieten overactivity caused by stress and anxiety. A poll conducted by Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that 20% preferred running as a strategy for combating stress.
Running is a cardio workout that does not require any equipment. It makes you feel like you can conquer anything. If you're able to complete a few runs a week, we bet you're happy about it and so you should be! Feeling proud of your efforts will boost your self-confidence, give you a sense of achievement, and empower you to stay on top of your overall health. If you notice changes such as weight loss, improved muscle tone and a brighter complexion, this may also improve your self-image
Running can be a great way to tackle stress. Trying out a new pedestrian or bike trail, or going for a run with a friend or in a running group, can give you some much-needed peace of mind away from the stressors of everyday life. If you struggle to clear your mind, try focusing on your breathing or listening to something you enjoy. You may even find that your running improves as a result.
Vitamin D insufficiency is linked with a range of ailments, including osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers – and depression. With most adults working in sedentary, indoor jobs – running outdoors provides an excellent opportunity to soak in some sunshine and vitamin D. It promotes mental well-being. Plus, the light and fresh air can lift your mood. Researches at the University of Essex have demonstrated that exercising in the outdoors (aka ‘green exercise’) improves self-esteem and mood.