Running is one of the most common ways to keep fit in the world as it is super easy to do and doesn’t require any advance equipment, only trainers and sportswear. This amongst many more reasons is why running has increased in popularity over the years and is increasingly popular in the spring and summer seasons.
However, within this article we are going to look into the positive mental benefits running does for your health. We will also explore further into the mindfulness techniques you can practice while you run as well as pre and post workout. So if you are interested in finding out how your mental health can benefit from regular jogging, then keep on reading.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental state where you experience an enhanced sense of awareness to your physical presence as well as the world around you. Most common practice for mindfulness is through meditation or reflective writing or thoughts.
However, there are unlimited avenues on how you carry out this mind-set and that is what makes it perfect to fit into your daily routine and a popular growing trend. This is great for relieving stress and is fantastic for your mental health and when combined with running, is the ultimate way to improve your overall health and lifestyle.
Positive Effects of Running
Now we have discussed what mindfulness is and how it works to benefit your mental state, we now are going to look into the positive effects of running, As mixing these two activities today can impact your life greatly. Below is a list of the various fantastic effects running alone can have on your fitness:
- Weight loss
- Enhanced lung capacity
- Improved stamina
- Heightened cognitive functions
There are a wide range of positive effects running has on your physical health. It is a fantastic way to keep on top of your weight and fitness as the increased intensity of the run can help to heighten the fat burning effects of the workout. Stored fat is used to fuel your body during your run and is transformed into energy. In order for weight loss to be effective if running is your go-to exercise, you would need to be able to maintain a jogging pace where you are able to hold a conversation comfortably.
When you are on a run no matter how intensive the training, you will find that over time your lung capacity will drastically improve and increase. This is because when you are running, your lungs are processing more oxygen and expelling C02 than when you are resting or walking. And as your respiratory system is performing more intensely during a jog, your overall breathing will become better. However, if you currently struggle with any medical issues you would need to consult a doctor before you head outside.
As you are processing more oxygen and increasing your heart rate along with stimulating your body during a run, you will find that you will also benefit from improved cognitive functions. Plus the more you run, the more you will increase your stamina which will allow you to run longer and further over time.
How Combining the Two Can Impact Your Mental Health
Throughout this post so far we have taken a look at what mindfulness is and also how running can benefit your body. However, now we are going to explore how these two techniques could work effortlessly together to give you the mental and physical health balance you need. Here are just a few positive mental effects this combination can have:
- Influx of endorphins
- Social aspects
- One on one with yourself
- Time to reflect
- Enjoying the surroundings
One of the most sought after feeling when you are working out in the jogging community is most commonly known as the ‘runners high’. This experience occurs due to an influx of endorphins that are produced when you are exercising. An increase in confidence is acquired during this ‘high’ and creates a feeling of accomplishment and motivation in runners.
Depending on your preferences, you can also choose to run solo or as part of a group or with your friends. You will most definitely get to benefit from the social aspects of running when taking part in a group as you catch up with old friends and make new ones too. This in particular could also work as a motivator to get you to run more and more as you get to socialize.
However, the opposite end of this scale is jogging on your own. This is beneficial as it gives you time to reflect one on one with yourself. Most runners prefer training on their own sometimes if they are struggling with a stressful situation or just need some time alone. During this time you can think about decisions you need to make or life choices and much more, you can also look into the future and makes plans mentally too.
When you are running outdoors you can benefit from taking in your surroundings and being at one with nature. Most towns and cities have a national park or a woodland area which you can schedule a route through and enjoy being surrounded by beautiful trees and birds tweeting. You can also run along coast lines and beaches for a fresh sea air breeze and the sound of the waves crazing across the shore. These two different types of nature runs can increase your connection with the world and creates a peaceful atmosphere while you jog.
Start on Your Running and Mindfulness Journey Today
In this article we have explored how running can not only be beneficial to your physical health, but it can also improve your mental health through mindfulness. However, you can still implement these practices into your everyday life between your runs to heighten the effect of the techniques.
However, we want to know how running has benefited your mental health and any other sports related activities which have helped you on your journey. Get in touch with us over on our social media pages and let us know your thoughts on this article now.
You can also shop our range of running clothing and accessories on our online store – Sports Fitness and kit yourself out in high quality sportswear ready for your next run.
This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury