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Published on May 03, 2018

5 Mental Health Benefits of Running

5 Mental Health Benefits of Running

Running is a great way to improve your health and your quality of life. In addition to helping you lose weight, running improves your physical health by:

  • Putting stress on the bones, which increases bone density.
  • Increasing the strength of your ligaments and tendons, which benefits your joints.
  • Increasing leg muscle mass, which helps with walking and standing for longer periods without fatigue.
  • Strengthening the immune system, which helps your body fight germs before they cause illnesses.
  • Reducing blood pressure, which decreases your chances of heart attack or stroke.

There are also quality-of-life benefits to running that you’ll realize once you dedicate some time to this activity.

  1. Running improves your mood – Running boosts the serotonin level in the brain. This is the chemical that improves your mood and produces a calming effect.
  2. Running improves patience – No one should start out running a half marathon, 10K or even a 5K. Developing the endurance to increase distance takes time. Becoming more fit will enable you to run farther, requiring more time. It is worth the effort.
  3. Running requires you to push yourself in order to improve – Your muscles will become sore, and your heart and lungs will work harder. This means that your endurance is improving and you are increasing your energy levels.
  4. Running requires discipline – Running must become a habit in order to be effective. Set a schedule and stick to it. Some days you may not feel like running. But after you do, you can feel good about yourself and enjoy the mental and physical benefits running provides.
  5. Running promotes a lifestyle change – Besides burning calories, which helps with weight loss, running encourages healthy lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, getting more sleep and coping better with stress.

There are plenty of opportunities to run with others including the Women's Only 5K race.

Making running a priority and doing it on a consistent basis requires a time commitment. But the physical and mental health benefits running provides certainly make it a worthy undertaking.

About the Author

Michael Rigby, DOMichael Rigby, DO practices family medicine and sports medicine at LeBauer HealthCare at Horse Pen Creek