Mental health is a subject that has become increasingly discussed in recent years. With pressures from work, family and other responsibilities growing, it’s not surprising that so many of us are feeling the strain. And while there are various factors that contribute to good mental health, activities such as running can have a substantial impact. Running has been found to have numerous benefits on both the body and mind. It’s a great way to clear your head, relieve stress and increase your wellbeing.

Here we look at 7 ways running improves mental health for Midlifers…

Helps to manage anxiety and depression

Running is one of the best ways to help manage anxiety and depression. This is because it releases feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which can act as a natural form of therapy. These chemicals can also increase your mood and help to improve your general well-being. Running is also a great form of physical activity to help alleviate these symptoms, with research suggesting that aerobic exercise is as effective as medication in treating depression.

Improves self-esteem and body image

Alongside managing anxiety and depression, running can also help improve your self-esteem and body image. By building a positive relationship with exercise and making changes to your body, you can begin to view your body in a more positive light. Exercising regularly can also help to improve your muscle tone and bone strength, which can have a positive impact on your self-esteem. Running can also help you to appreciate and see your body for what it is, which can have a positive impact on your self-esteem.

A great distraction

Life is full of distractions, and responsibilities can often get in the way of dealing with certain issues. Running can be a great distraction and a great way to deal with these issues. When you’re out running, you’re not thinking about work or managing your household – you’re solely focused on what you’re doing. This can be a great way to deal with issues, such as your relationship with a partner, managing your finances, looking for a new job or dealing with a health issue

Tunes out the world

The first step towards improving your mental health is to tune out the world. And what better way to do that than through music? Research has shown that running to music can help you exercise for longer and at a higher intensity, reduce perceived fatigue and increase feelings of wellbeing. It can also have a positive impact on mood and help to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.

Can help with insomnia

Alongside aiding insomnia, running can also promote better sleeping habits. This is because it encourages you to exercise before 5 pm, which can help to regulate your sleeping patterns throughout the week. Exercising early on in the day is great for regulating your sleep patterns, as it can help you to get more sleep. Running in particular, is a great form of exercise as it doesn’t require any additional equipment and only requires a pair of running shoes

Exercises the brain too

Running is not only good for your body, but it also exercises your brain too. This is because as you’re running, you’re having to think about things like your route, how fast you’re going, what music you’re listening to and so on. You’re also having to regulate your breathing and heart rate, which is great for mental wellbeing. Running can also help you to meet new people and open up career opportunities.

Bottom line

Running can significantly improve your mental health, which can have a knock-on effect on your physical well-being too. By making time for running, you can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and insomnia, as well as improve your self-esteem and body image. Running is also a great form of exercise for your brain, as it exercises itself while you’re doing it. So if you’re feeling the strain, why not make the time to go for a run? It’s a great way to clear your head and get things in perspective. And when you’ve finished, you’ll be amazed at how good you feel!

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