“Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived….Run with your heart.”
If you have read even a few of my blogs, then you know what a big fan I am of sweets. It doesn’t take me long to get enough points at the yogurt place to score a free one. That is one reason I have always kept up with my running. I eat healthy, but I believe in living, so when I want ice cream, I eat it! The truth of the matter is however, that what running has done for me emotionally is so much more important than what it has done for me physically. As it is for many, life is a series of ups and downs. During those down times, getting out of bed in the morning can be a big challenge. It’s hard. I’m tired when the alarm goes off, sometimes I’m flat out beat down and exhausted. I may be physically drained, and lately a little emotionally drained. There are mornings I actually lay there and have an internal conversation with myself about how much worse I will feel if I don’t go. (Sometimes I lie at the end of the bed and discuss it with my dog, who by the way is no help!) I can tell you this, there is not a day I have gone running that I have come home and thought, “wow, I regret that”. Instead I always feel a thousand times better than I did the moment my eyes popped open. In reality, for me that is where the addiction to running comes in, I guess that’s why they call it the “Runner’s High”.
The great thing about the mental benefit of exercise is that it is an instant payoff. You did it, you come home, you feel better. The health, cardio, and visual benefits take time to see. So if you start and you realize the good feeling that you get, you may very well have the desire to do it again. (or at least that’s the hope!) Some people have glanced through some of my playlists and found it odd that a few of my songs are slower. Usually though those slower ones have meaning to me, it’s therapeutic. It’s an emotional release when I have something on my mind. As I listen I let it out and I actually speed up. So I guess for me you can definitely say running is my therapy. (and it’s a lot less expensive than a real therapist!) A friend of mine sent me a quote when I first started this blog that I loved. It read “It’s easier to wake up earlier and workout than it is to look in the mirror every day and not like what you see.” I couldn’t agree more.
So today I thought I would share some actual proven facts about the emotional and really anti-depressant effects of running and exercise in general.
- Running releases endorphins which actually trigger a positive attitude and a happy feeling. In fact there are several studies that show that 30-40 minutes of moderate exercise 4-5 times a week had the same effect on the brain as a low dose of an anti-depressant.
- Moderate exercise can also help you sleep better. Lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of other problems such as depression, lack of energy, and poor nutrition. (So really it’s a domino effect)
- Running boosts your self-esteem which in turn builds confidence. Confidence is a key to happiness and success.
- Exercise of all kinds reduces stress. Everyone has things in their life that add stress. Whether it’s work or kids, whatever it may be, take at least 30 minutes most days and it will lower your stress level.
- Good moods are contagious. Putting yourself in a good mood will trickle down to your kids, your spouse, your friends, and even your co-workers.
I once had a doctor I worked with tell me that she thought the world would be a better and happier place if they put anti-depressants in the water. I say the world would be a happier place if everybody ran, or found an exercise that worked for them. I can tell you without a doubt that there have been many times running has prevented me from falling into a state of depression. Through family stress, financial stress, and even recently coping with the loss of a loved one, running has saved me. I know it sounds strange, but I truly believe that running is a gift you can give yourself. Remember happiness is a choice, it is a direction, not a place. So why not choose the direction that leads you to happiness? #ifeverybodyran
“The only workout you will ever regret is the one you didn’t do.”