Maybe you intuitively knew it the moment you first realized you were hooked on running, Or maybe you began to notice how your mood was different and you were less anxious. Either way, what you are experiencing is one of the unique and generous gifts of running: it is truly of therapeutic value in treating anxiety and depression.
And that means a lot, considering that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Sure, you can’t run any races, or train with your favorite running group, but you’ll find new meaning in running your solo workouts.
Study after study has shown that running is one of the most effective exercises for reducing symptoms of clinical depression. And research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression. It also has been proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and help you relax. According to the Mayo Clinic, “The links between depression, anxiety and exercise aren’t entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you’re feeling better.”
Ever notice that within minutes of setting foot from your door, you begin to take your mind off worries and the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety? How does such a simple repetitive motion do this?
For starters, you are outside in the sunlight and fresh air, which are natural mood booster. Running releases neurotransmitters known as endorphins. Believe it or not, they are endogenous cannabinoids as well as other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.
An added psychological bonus is that you gain confidence as you meet you running goals. In a stressful time like the one we are all experiencing now, it’s one of the healthiest strategies for coping.
According to Michael Otto Ph.D. in an article for Psychology Today, “It is clear that regular exercise can offer reliable reductions in anxiety while also promoting feelings of wellbeing.”
So, yeah, keep on running. In addition to staying in great shape for when we can all celebrate by running 5Ks and 10Ks again, you’ll feel pretty good, too.
Note: As our journey into uncharted territory continues regarding COVID-19, Ready to Run has temporarily closed its doors to ensure compliance with the order to cease any activity that is not defined as “essential” and to shelter-in-place. While our doors may be closed, a staff member will be available to take your phone orders during the hours of 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Monday through Friday for the immediate future. We will happily ship your order free of charge with any purchase. Our phone number is (512) 241-0323.