Exploring the Benefits that Running Brings to your Mental Health
Discover the Joy of Running: Harnessing the Power of Community and Mental Well-being
Welcome to Performance Running Outfitters, where we believe that running is more than just a physical activity – it's a source of happiness and connection. Our mission is to support runners like you in finding your happy place (and solemate), fostering a sense of community, and exploring the incredible benefits that running brings to your mind.
Need motivation to start running? Here’s our 6 “Why’s” for becoming a runner!
Numerous studies have shown that running and other forms of exercise can lead to an improved mood and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, known as "feel-good" hormones, which can help alleviate feelings of stress and enhance overall well-being. According to a systematic review by Kowalski et al. (2020), running has a significant impact on mental health, providing benefits such as reducing depressive symptoms and promoting well-being.
Engaging in regular running has been found to be an effective stress management strategy. Running provides a healthy outlet for releasing tension, reducing cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and promoting relaxation. It can also help individuals develop resilience and cope better with daily stressors.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
Research suggests that running can have positive effects on cognitive function and mental clarity. Aerobic exercise, like running, increases blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new neurons and enhancing cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and problem-solving.
One of the studies, from the American Academy of Neurology, looked at 206 adults before and after a six-month exercise program. By the end of the program, the participants saw blood flow to the brain increase by 2.3 percent on average, which is what the researchers believe led to a 5.7 percent improvement on executive function tests and 2.4 percent improvement on verbal fluency. “Vigorous exercise may pump blood to regions of the brain that specifically improve your verbal skills as well as memory and mental sharpness,” said study author Marc Poulin in a press release.
An additional study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, also looked at blood flow to the brain, over a year’s worth of aerobic exercise. The exercise group saw a remarkable 47 percent improvement in their memory scores. However, these were among individuals who had memory issues to begin with, which could account for the more staggering results.
Regular participation in running has been linked to improved self-esteem and self-perception. Accomplishing personal running goals, such as completing a race or setting new distance records, can boost confidence and create a sense of achievement.
Social Connection and Community
Running can foster social connection and a sense of community, which are essential for mental well-being. Group runs, running clubs, and events provide opportunities for individuals to connect with like-minded people, share experiences, and receive support, ultimately reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Better Sleep Quality
Studies have shown that engaging in regular physical activity like running can promote better sleep quality. Running can help regulate sleep patterns, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, and improve sleep duration, leading to improved mental health and overall vitality.
As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we encourage you to reflect on your own story, your “why”. Let others' experiences inspire you to lace up your running shoes and embark on your own transformative journey. Whether you're seeking a supportive community, like one of our weekly group runs, a means of self-expression, or a path to inner peace, running has the power to guide you towards a brighter, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Join us at a group run and in celebrating the joy of running and discovering the myriad benefits it brings to your mind and soul. Together, let's embrace the transformative power of the run and create a community where runners can find solace, share their struggles, and thrive.
New to Running? What running shoes, apparel and gear are best for beginner runners?
Visit one of our 4 running store locations nested in Milwaukee’s downtown and surrounding suburbs or explore our virtual running store online to find the best running shoes, gear, resources, and inspiration you need to embark on your running and fitness journey. In store, take advantage of our free running gait analysis and test out your shoes before you buy. Let's run together towards a happier, healthier, and more connected future. Happy soles. Crushed goals.