How Can Running Improve Your Mood
Running, especially long-distance running is a great way to boost your mood.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, excessive stress, or if you just have a bad case of the blues, then you may want to try running.
Doctors have long recommended exercise, specifically running, as a way to counter the effects that stress and/or depression can have on your mood.
Now, you may be curious as to why exactly this is the case. Well, I plan to explain exactly why this is the case.
Running replaces stress-causing hormones with ones that make you feel happy
Some of you may not be aware of this, but stress, depression, and other things that kill your mood can actually be traced back to a hormone called “cortisol.”
Cortisol is a mood killer, to say the least.
Whenever you feel particularly blue, the chances are high that your cortisol levels are higher than usual, which results in the negative feelings that you are experiencing.
One of the ways that running improves your mood is by countering the negative effects of cortisol. Because running is such a physically exertive exercise, your body releases endorphins into the brain.
The best way to describe endorphins is to basically describe them as the exact opposite of the cortisol hormone.
Whereas cortisol makes you feel stressed out, sad, etc., endorphins make you feel good about yourself.
Endorphins make you feel energized, happy, and just about every other good adjective that you can think of.
In fact, the good feelings that endorphins trigger in people are so good, that they are actually addicting. Many people chase after “runner’s highs” because of how good the endorphins make you feel.
Running takes your mind off things
Sometimes all you need to feel better is a good distraction.
When you are feeling sad or angry about something, running gives you a chance to get away from it.
While running, you are able to let yourself calm down and think more clearly, which often results in your mood improving.
Running exposes you to the outdoors
Assuming you aren’t running inside a gym or on a treadmill, then there is another way that running can help you and that is by exposing you to the outdoors.
It’s a simple fact that most people simply don’t get enough exposure to the outdoors. Fresh air and direct sunlight have incredible health benefits, including improved mood.
Why Exercising Outdoors is Good for the Mind
While the idea of being indoors might be appealing to some people, there’s no getting away from the benefits of exercising outdoors.
This doesn’t mean that you should always exercise out of the house or away from the gym, but it’s a good idea to give yourself some time where you exercise in the natural world.
1) Get some sunshine
If the weather is good, getting some exercise outdoors allows you to also soak up some rays of sunshine, in other words, give your body some Vitamin D.
As long as you’re exercising outdoors and not confining yourself to the shade, you should automatically get this when you exercise outside in the sunshine, helping to boost your energy levels and also benefiting your body too.
Be careful not to spend too much time outdoors if the weather is particularly hot, and always remember to wear sunscreen for protection against sun damage.
2) Increase your happiness levels
Exercising in general is known to increase endorphins in your body and make you happier, but exercising outdoors can do this even more than exercising outdoors.
Scientists and health professionals are still not sure why the outdoors seems to make us happier than being indoors, but it’s mainly due to the fact that people feel more free outside and less confined to one space.
3) Fell less restricted
Many people don’t like working out in a gym because they feel too restricted.
Many gyms have certain areas for certain machines, which are in use by people during most of the day.
This often leaves users of the gym feeling like they are too close to each other or that they can only go to one part of the gym.
When you’re outside, you don’t have to run in the same spot on a treadmill – you can run almost wherever you want and enjoy the cool breeze in the air at the same time.
4) Have more fun!
When studies have been conducted regarding satisfaction and enjoyments levels of people who have exercised outdoors vs those who have exercised indoors, the general consensus is that the people who did their work outs in the open found them much more enjoyable than those who worked out behind closed doors.
If you’re struggling to enjoy your workouts, it might be time to go out of the gym and see if you can find some suitable outdoor areas to exercise.