How Running And Exercising Benefits Our Mental Health?

We are aware of all the physical benefits of running and many people run or exercise to lose weight or develop muscles. Very few people focus on the psychological benefits of running and exercising.

The intension of most people behind exercising is to look attractive but no one talks about how running or exercising can benefit their mental health.

Many studies have proven that doing intensive physical activity increases blood flow in the body which helps to release chemical called endorphins which gives a feeling of well-being. Endorphins help runners to achieve runners high.

How Running And Exercising Enhances Your Mental Health?

Most people exercise for improving their body posture, hence very few are aware of how running or any intensive exercise will benefit their mental health.

The endorphins which are released in your body help you to light up your mood. But other than improving your mood running and exercise also improves your attitude and outlook towards life.

It brings that confidence in you and eliminates negative thoughts from your mind.

Let us dive deep into how running benefits your mental health.

“A Strong Mind Can Carry A Weak Body But A Weak Mind Cannot Even Carry A Healthy Body”

Shree Shree Ravi Shankar
  • Running Boosts Self Esteem.
  • Running Helps You Cope With Stress.
  • Running Improves Your Mood.
  • Preventing Cognitive Decline.
  • Helps To Overcome Depression And Anxiety.
  • Increase Productive.
  • Boosts Creative Thinking.

Running Boosts Self Esteem.

Running is one of those sports which boost your self-esteem. A runner builds self-esteem by regularly running and jogging and keep beating his own best.

If a runner dedicatedly commits to a plan and keep trying to improve their run by overcoming a mental obstacle then they boost their self-esteem.

Running consistently helps you to get better with every footstrike. A regular runner gets a real perception of fitness and by experiencing positive physical changes their self-esteem is boosted.

If you are training for a long-distance marathon, you set a goal. As you increase your capability to run that extra mile, you get the feeling of accomplishments which boost your self-esteem.

Here is a training guide for beginners to run their first longdistance marathon.

Running Helps You Cope With Stress.

Stress can come due to many reasons like family, friends, work etc. Running gives you time to think or escape from the stress for a while.

Studies have proven that running is one of the best ways to deal with stress.

Running can control stress and enhances your ability to deal with stress and existing tension.

While running your body releases a chemical, called norepinephrine which helps you to moderate the brain’s response to stress.

Running Improves Your Mood

Running, jogging or any other intense exercise which increases blood flow in the body releases endorphins in your body which helps to reduce pain and you feel good.

Endorphins act as pain killers and it elevates your mood by reducing depression and anxiety.

Studies have found that a small 15-20 minutes jog or few aerobics exercises can help you to release endorphins which will uplift your mood.

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Running certainly doesn’t cure Alzheimer but it may boost the brain’s ability to memorise and minimises the chance of cognitive decline which starts at age 45.

While running or exercising, chemicals are produced in the brain which helps you to boost your memory and learning ability for a longer period.

Research has sown that running affects our brain positively. Runners are observed thinking clearly and memorising things faster.

Helps To Overcome Depression And Anxiety.

Running or aerobic exercises release chemical name endorphins which reduces the pain and makes you feel good.

This gives the dopamine hit and makes you feel happy.

Studies have shown that people doing regular exercise usually don’t get depressed or have an anxiety attack.

Chemicals released during and exercising helps you to keep your mind calm.

Even yoga and meditation is considered as one of the best ways to fight depression and anxiety by staying calm.

Increases Productivity.

People who exercise regularly are more active and responsive than compared to people who don’t exercise.

Activeness in your body increases your productivity as you take quick decisions and you act quickly.

Boost Creative Thinking.

A short run to free your legs and body will boost your creative thinking.

If you are struggling to get that one brilliant idea then rather staring at your desktop you should try going for a short run/walk. A short run/walk will make you active and will boost your brain’s thinking ability.

Many creative people critically think while walking to come up with an amazing idea.

A happy mind!

How Much Do I Need To Exercise To Improve My Mental Health?

After reading the above benefits of exercise on mental health, you most probably must be thinking of this question.

Well, the answer to this is simple. You don’t need to workout 2-3 hours a day like an athlete. You just have to exercise for 20-30 minutes to experience the benefits of exercise on mental health.

Whenever you feel depressed or stressed due to some reason, try going for walk or do basic 15 minutes cardio workout or stretch a bit to lift up your mood.

An individual who exercises for at least 15 minutes a day will always be more energetic and will have a healthy mind than who never removes time for exercise.

Studies have also proved that running 15 minutes a day reduces the chances of depression by 26 per cent. You just have to remove 15 minutes of your day to run. You can run anywhere you want, outdoor or even on a treadmill.

Click here! and find out where you should start running, outdoor or on a treadmill.

More than 1/4th of adults across the world do not get enough exercise. Therefore, you should first identify what type of exercise you love to do. It can be anything like running, cycling, aerobics workout or simply playing sports.

Then set a realistic goal and dedicatedly try to achieve it. Do not get stressed to achieve your fitness goal, take your time and stay consistent.

Here is a short video explanation

Bottom Line.

We all should be aware of how running and other aerobics exercises benefit our mental health.

This awareness has to be spread among all fitness enthusiast. Because the majority of people believe that exercise is for physical fitness.

These days traditional gyms sell this idea of physical fitness and ignore holistic fitness which also includes mental health.

So next time when you will plan your fitness plan, do consider how your exercises are positively affecting your mental health.

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Reference

https://www.theguardian.com/international

https://www.cigna.com/

Why you run…?

I think most of the runners have faced this question at least once in their lifetime. It is because non-runners usually feel that running is too challenging or boring. Or maybe they are having that mental barrier that they cannot run long distance or maybe they believe in some myths like running is bad for joints or running makes you skinny etc.

As a runner, we all know that running is much more than fitness and weight loss. There are so many physical as well as emotional advantages behind running regularly.

So if you are having a question that why runners run or why should I start running then stay tuned, you have clicked on the right article!

So the following are a few reasons which motivate most of the runners to run or below are the points which will motivate you to start running!

  • Good for the heart
  • Improving Immunity
  • Better Sleep
  • Beat Your Best!
  • Reduces depression, anxiety
  • Overcoming mental obstacle.
  • Runners High.
  • Improves body posture
  • Bonus: Improves self-esteem

Good for the heart: A runner has a healthy heart. Most of the doctors or cardiologist recommend their patients to go for a walk or short run. Running has positive impact on the heart of runners. Runners have lower resting pulse rate which results in higher amount of oxygen intake. Echocardiographic studies shows that distant runners have a healthy heart compared to sedentary people. The runners heart also pumps blood at higher rate compared to normal people. This is called an “Athlete Heart”. Athlete Heart once was considered abnormal, but now is considered as efficient organ. Running being an highly aerobic activity it has positive impact on cardiovascular system. So once you start running, your heart will start living a healthy life.

A healthy heart = healthy life

Improving Immunity: When your start running boosting immunity is certainly not the priority, but running being an aerobic workout it eventually helps to increase your immunity system. Just like running, other intensive workouts also boost your immunity system. When you run or do intensive workouts your body releases white blood cells which are crucial to boost your immunity system. While running your body temperature rises which helps you to fight various infections in your body. So during this Covid-19 times we have been well aware of importance of immune system and so there’s another motivation to run and stay healthy during this pandemic.

Yeah you will be strong like this awesome kid!

Better Sleep: There is no valid research to support this point but I personally have experienced this. When you have a good long run, that night you will really have a good sleep. The reason behind this is when you run or do some intensive exercise it increases the amount of slow wave sleep which means deep sleep. A research have stated that running reduces insomnia symptoms. It takes lots of energy and lots of calories are burned in process of running as it is known as aerobic exercise, which results to have a good sleep. The increase in body temperature while running and later on after cool down when temperature drops the runner may feel sleepy.

Beat Your Best: Running is an individual sport, and the only way to get better at it is getting better than yourself. As we all know that running is a pure test of physical as well as mental strength. If you have to get good at running there are no shortcuts, each day you have to try to get better version of yourself. Each day you have to try to run a bit more than what you ran yesterday. Even for marathons you have to keep improving day by day and eventually you will be physically and mentally ready for completing that dream marathon!. Specially for beginner runners its strongly recommended to not to compare themselves with elite runners because being good at running is a long-term process. So practicing and being consistent is the only way forward.

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

Reduces Depression & Anxiety: Running improves your mood and it also has positive impact to reduce depression and anxiety. Runners have more connections between the frontal-parietal network and other areas of brain this leads to positive influence on attitude. While running some neurochemicals are released in the body. These neurochemicals are known as endorphins. Endorphins are released in brain which helps runners to reduce pain and boost pleasure, resulting in feeling of well being. In addition to relieving daily stress endorphins also leads to burst of well being and just a general sense of happiness.

Happy mind = Happy life

Overcoming Mental Obstacle: Running is not just physically challenging but also mentally challenging. A runner is also tested mentally when he has to complete a certain distance. Numerous thoughts rush into the mind of a runner when he is running. Multiple negative thoughts start running into a runners mind. Especially if you are a beginner then you will certainly start doubting yourself. A true runner has to overcome those thoughts and be focused on running, he/she has to stay determined and keep on chanting some positive lines while completing a marathon.

A runner can chant following sentences, these are the ones which i use personally.

  • Yes, come on you can do this!
  • Keep going!
  • If they can finish it, why can’t I?

You just have to keep motivating yourself to run that extra mile!

When ever you mind tells you to stop, just take a deep breath and take control over your mind and keep going towards finishing line.

-Team GetHolisticFit

Runners High: A experienced runner can tell you that sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn’t. So how exactly do you get runners high?

Well there is no exact way to get runners high, but first lets understand what exactly runners high means…

Runners high is a natural feeling of reduced stress and reduced ability to perceive pain. When you hit runners high the pain and tiredness drastically reduces and you get a feeling of happiness and fulfillment.

Did you guessed when do we get runners high? Exactly as mentioned above we get it through endorphins. It improves your mood and motivates you to cover that extra mile.

Exactly you feel as if you are running through clouds :p

Improves Body Posture: As mentioned earlier running improves you mood but it also has positive influence on your body. A runners body goes through many changes, running makes his/her body more fit and lean. Running increases the percentage of lean muscles and reduces body fat substantially. It also increases your metabolism, which leads to improved bone density and overall development in health. Important point to remember for long distance runners is that running with weight training will help to increase your muscles.

Bonus- Builds Self-esteem: Running can also boost your self-esteem, when a beginner runner trains for a marathon he has to practice with full dedication and once the runner finishes his dream run, he/she will start to appreciate how far they have come. Any beginner runner feels a marathon is an unachievable task but as a runner’s body get develop he/she will start having a positive attitude and will appreciate the efforts. The confidence which you will gain will have positive influence on your personal as well as professional life. A runner will start taking challenges which he/she would have not taken otherwise.

A feeling which you get when you reach that finishing line cannot be expressed in words. I would really recommend you to train for a certain distance and experience that feeling by reaching that finishing line by yourself.

By completing each mile you will keep on increasing your confidence!

So, why you run…? Let me know in the comment section, what is your reason that keeps you motivated and if you are a beginner then which of the above reason will motivate you to run your first mile.

holistic approach towards fitness.

What does holistic approach towards fitness really mean?

Holistic fitness means mindful and effective approach towards sustainable health and having proper balance between healthy body and mind. It is keeping the body active and mind relaxed.

These days most people tend to forget the importance of mental health and just focus on building muscular strength. Traditional gym workouts build your muscle strength which just leads to attractive and eye pleasing appearance.

If you are the one who loves to workout in the gym, then that’s great, but along with the gym workout you should also devote some time for Yoga, Pilates, meditation etc. which will also improve your flexibility, body balance, and mental health. It will also help you to recover fast from various injuries. As you work on flexibility you muscle performance of hamstring, glutes, uper and lower back also improves

Take small steps regularly to achieve holistic fitness.

If you are an athlete who runs marathons or triathlons then holistic fitness approach is the best way to improve your endurance based workout performance. As being a marathon runner my self, I am well aware of how marathon is a pure test of physical as well as mental strength. And having a great flexible and balanced body also improves your running performance.

Human body is capable of doing amazing and unbelievable stuff if trained properly. The human body should be trained in all aspects of workout including weights, flexibility, running, swimming, trekking etc. It is capable of doing multiple things and the great advantage of doing so is that you are always excited to test your limits by various types of physical workouts. By doing so one will increase stamina in all areas of fitness.

Holistic approach towards fitness is building a healthy lifestyle. It covers all aspects of healthy life such as exercising, eating healthy, having sufficient sleep, meditating, building endurance and flexibility, thinking positive and having good relation with peers.

It is a slow and steady process towards fitness and will test your patience level as well. But the results which you will achieve will be long lasting and fulfilling.

So stay tuned for more insights on holistic approach towards fitness. Let me know in the comment sectiondo you agree to this approach and also what are more ways to achieve holistic fitness, I would love to learn more from you as well.

Reference 1 – https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/holistic-fitness-a-growing-trend-in-overall-wellness/

Reference 2 – https://poppintalk.com/2019/08/26/holistichealth/

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