The benefits of running for your brain

benefits of running for your brain
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I was never very good at sports but I have always loved running. That feeling of being outside and working on your health. When I finish my run I always feel great. The positive effect even seems to last for a few days. Did you know that running is also very good for your brain? In this blog I give you the benefits of running for your brain.

My run

Why am I watching this? The television was on and I was feeling bored and tired. But then I made a decision. I got up from the couch and turned off the television. Ten minutes later I stepped out the front door in my running gear. I was already feeling much better!

After some stretching I opened the workout app on my Apple Watch and selected ‘Outdoor Run’. And I started to run. The first mile I felt great. I am running! The weather is great and I am being active outside. When I ran through my street I saw people inside their houses watching television. Just like I was fifteen minutes ago. But now I am breathing in fresh air and soaking up the sunshine.

The second mile I was struggling to find my rhythm. Am I running too fast? Or too slow? I am having trouble controlling my breathing. Okay, let’s start breathing in three times and out three times. I will try to match the pace of my feet.

The third mile I started to think about last week’s run. How far did I run? Six miles! Wow. I’ll never make it that far now. Or will I?

The fourth mile I saw another runner in the distance. How fast is he running? I think I can catch up with him. Come on, let’s pick up the pace!

When I finished the fifth mile I realized I had already run as far as last week. Why stop now? My legs feel pretty good. Let’s try to go a little further.

The sixth mile I suddenly felt great. It felt like I had gotten a set of new batteries and I could go on forever (remember the Duracell bunny?). I guess this is what they call runner’s high.

And then – after running seven miles – I decided to stop. Thinking about how good I will feel when I am standing in the shower washing off the sweat.

I have always loved running

I was never very good at sports but I have always loved running. I especially love the fact that you can do it outside and combine it with enjoying nature. Some of the most memorable runs I did were when I was on vacation in Germany. Running along the Mosel river with mountains with wine ranks on my right side and the beautiful river on my left side.

That is why I love running. But did you know that running is also very good for your brain?

These are the benefits of running for your brain:

Managing stress

Running helps the body and mind to deal with stress. For me it has the same effect as mindfulness or meditation. When I am running I am truly living in the moment. Especially after running a few miles ‘the now’ is all that matters to me. I feel all the sensations in my body and it seems like I see and experience things more clearly.

Vitamin D

When you run outside and soak up sunlight your body will start to produce vitamin D. A nutrient that can help battle depressive symptoms. Think about it: everybody will feel happy after a good run outdoors!

Better sleep

The night after a long run I always enjoy a long and deep sleep. And we all know how important sleep is for a healthy brain.

More energy

After a long run I have a lot more energy. My productivity and even my creativity increases. And the good thing is that the effect seems to last for a few days!

The high of the accomplishment

For me, running is all about setting and achieving goals. When I set a goal to run seven miles that is exactly what I will do. And when I accomplish the goal I feel great.

The power of decision

Running has taught me all about the power of decision. I am the one who decides to get up from the couch and go outside to start running. Even when my brain says no!

These are the benefits of running for your brain. Did I convince you to start running too?

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