In the stressful times we live in, the importance of fitness and exercise cannot be highlighted enough. Many people tend to go for running since it is the most convenient option – after all, it only requires a pair of running shoes and your own motivation; and no equipment or gym membership is needed.

However, running does a lot more for your health than you may realize. In addition to keeping you fit, here are 7 ways that running also helps to improve your mood.

1. Switching Stress for Happiness Hormones

If you have had a stressful day at the office, then running is a fantastic way to relax. In fact, all forms of aerobic exercise balance out the harmful effects of stress hormones, such as cortisol, by producing endorphins – the happiness hormone. Endorphins act as natural antidepressants and boost mental health.

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An increase of endorphins is the cause of what is known as the “runner’s high,” which runners describe as the feeling of peace and relaxation that they enjoy after a long run.

2. Bolsters Socializing

Running is also intertwined with the fundamental need for social relationships because running motivates us to get out there and meet fellow runners.

Though many people tend to schedule their runs with friends or family members, arranging running with the company is a fantastic way to improve social relationships in your workplace while also doing good for your body. Or, you can even join one of the group runs that are organized in spring so that runners can meet people with the same passion.

3. Better Sleep

Unlike stressing about work or running errands throughout the entire day, running uses up your energy in the best possible way. You will be tired, but not exhausted; so running limits insomnia by regulating your energy levels and sleep time.

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Not only does running prepare you for an early sleep, but it also improves the quality of your sleep. Sleep, in general, is responsible for your mood – so it is pretty safe to say that running boosts your mood by “providing” you with a  good night’s sleep.

4. Increased Energy Levels

While running makes you go to sleep easier and faster, it also keeps your energy levels high and stable – and we are not just talking about the immediate effects of “runner’s high.” It only takes three days of aerobic exercise per week to eliminate daily fatigue and lethargy in the long term.

This is because aerobic activities encourage blood flow to your brain and supply it with oxygen. This results in better function and an improved, up-lifted mood so you can be more motivated to do your daily tasks.

5. Upgraded Self-Esteem

When you run, it is you versus yourself. Sometimes you might want to stop and go home, or you will think about giving up and watching TV instead. However, when you keep running and push yourself to your limits, you train your mind to set goals and follow through with your intentions.

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After achieving these goals, you may even motivated to set new, even more, challenging ones; and conquering obstacles is a great way to build up your confidence. This is why, in addition to boosting your self-esteem, running will help you learn to be patient with yourself and give everything your best shot.

6. Preparing You for Daily Tasks

Apart from improving your mood and making you feel physically better, running has also been proven to help your mental abilities because it keeps grey cells safer and healthier for longer, so runners have sharp mental abilities even when they are older.

Elder people who run regularly have been shown to be less moody and feel better and happier.

7. Enjoying Nature and Fresh Air

What can be more beneficial for your health than getting some fresh air and spending more time in nature?

Even by simply spending time in the sun and soaking up vitamin D, you will be doing good for yourself because vitamin D is known to reduce your chances of experiencing depressive symptoms.

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Considering the mental and physical benefits of going for a run, it is no wonder that runners are more peaceful and positive people. You can use your daily jog as a means of spending time for yourself. You can relax and forget about your daily tasks and stressful life routine. You can relish the joy of improved self-esteem, a sharper mind, and higher energy levels.

So now that you’ve read this, what are you waiting for? Put on those running shoes and get going!

Mattea Jacobs is a freelance writer who mostly writes about both interior and exterior design, and environmentally-friendly ways to improve your home. She is also a green activist and a mother of two beautiful sons. You can reach her on Facebook and Instagram.

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