Three Benefits of Running You Can’t Ignore

1) It’s Antidepressant Qualities.

Over the past decade, Americans have seen a 400% increase in the use of antidepressants. According to the CDC, depression is common, with as high as 9% of citizens experiencing it. Further, it’s twice as common in women than it is men, with its highest rate of occurrence between the ages of 45 and 64.

You may have heard that exercise can serve as an antidepressant before, and it’s true. Reward pathways in the brain are activated by natural behaviors like eating, reproduction, and exercise, as well as drugs in the form of antidepressants.

Authors of a 2007 study in scientific journal Elsevier compared neurochemical and functional changes in the brain after addictive drugs and exercise, with a focus on brain reward pathways and the hippocampus. They concluded that running is beneficial in the same way that antidepressants are. “Running increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus and is beneficial as an antidepressant in a genetic animal model of depression and in depressed humans.”

2) You’ll Sleep Better.

If you’re looking to improve your quality of life, and get more out of your day, it starts with better sleep. Research shows that just thirty minutes of morning running positively affects “sleep and psychological functioning.” This improvement came after just three weeks of regular runs; meaning, that you can improve your overall physical and mental well-being in a relatively short amount of time.

3) Your Brain Will Thank You.

In Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, authors Hayley Guiney and Liana Machado write that the mental benefits of exercise increase as we age, and that in older populations, the evidence for this is insurmountable.

Guiney and Machado’s studies utilized mental tests to evaluate cognitive function in older adults, and found that those with a higher level of fitness, also scored higher on the tests. In addition, some participants of the study were assigned to perform aerobic exercise (like running) and others were assigned to “stretch and tone” classes. Those in the aerobic group scored better in the mental tests, lending further efficacy to the mental benefits of running.

About the Author

Julie Petrusak, Personal Trainer

Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist, by the National Academy of Sports Medicine

Julie is a certified corrective exercise specialist, who holds a B.FA. in Dance from the Alvin Ailey-Fordham University Dance program. She is a certified kettlebell instructor, and has taught extensively in barre fitness and high-intensity interval training.

Julie believes that moving body is a happy body. She pursues her passion for human movement practically, by training clients and instructing group fitness classes, and artistically by choreographing and directing her dance company JP Dance Group. Julie’s dance background and fitness experience allows her to offer her clients a well-rounded, diverse offering of expertise. She takes a holistic approach to training and strives to help her clients transform not just their bodies, but also their mind-body connection, positive self-image, and overall well-being.

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