5 Ways Running Stimulates Your Brain and Body
From the initial effects of a runner's endorphin high to stimulating concentration and creativity, running is a sport designed to amplify your brain's cognitive performance.
In this post, we'll unpack the benefits of running for your brain.
Do you have a meeting first thing in the morning? Get out on the road for a 3km or 5km run before you head to the office. Running in the morning boosts your circulation. As a result, you have more oxygenated blood flowing to your brain.
With higher oxygen levels in your bloodstream, your thoughts will be more precise and fast, with a sharpness to them that will leave you looking like the CEO of the meeting.
While everyone is still on their second cup of coffee and yawning, you'll be firing on all cylinders and full of good ideas.
Time to Get High
Runners don't need drugs to get high; they do it naturally with hard work and sweat! But seriously, a runner high is an incredible feeling if you've ever experienced one before.
As we run, the brain releases oxytocin and nor-epinephrine, biochemicals that make you feel good.
Studies by Oxford University also show that running in groups also stimulates the release of these same biochemicals – so think about joining a running club.
Running also causes the brain to release endocannabinoids, which produce a calming effect on your mind and body throughout the day, even after you stop running.
More than 40-million Americans have some form of a high-anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Americans also rely on medications to manage their anxiety. As a result, America has millions of prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium. However, these drugs can cause dependency and ruin people's lives.
Instead of getting rid of your anxiety with a pill, use your running shoes and the road. When you run, the same biochemicals that make you feel high also work to improve your mood. The running clears the stress from your body, leaving you feeling in control of your mind, body, and destiny.
Jog Your Memory
There is exciting research out of Japan that shows that a short jog can help with memory recall. The study shows that running activates the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for creating and recalling memories.
The next time that you're struggling to remember that fact or what that person's name was, go for a light jog. Don't concentrate on the name; focus on the run. When you get home, don't be surprised if the answer pops into your head as you're cooling down from the run.
Stay Mentally Healthy
Mental health is not only about removing the anxiety in your life. As we age, a certain subset of the population is prone to developing dementia. This degenerative brain disease deteriorates the affected individual in there senior years, leaving them a husk of their former self.
Running helps to activate those same chemicals in the brain that help clear neural pathways of toxins and free radicals. Seniors that go for a light jog or a walk stay mentally healthy for longer than those seniors that get no exercise.
Shopping Suggestions: Running the streets before work in the morning? The Altra Escalante 2 is a great shoe for a quick morning run- it even looks good if you keep wearing it through the day! Grivet has it on sale now- shop here!
- Memphis, TN.