Feeling Depressed? Go for a Run

The last thing you feel like doing when you are feeling down is to exercise. However, the temptation to lie in bed and withdraw from the world generally is the worst thing you can do and will only exacerbate negative feelings.

Exercise that makes you sweat can help to control symptoms by releasing feel-good endorphins into your body. These natural cannabis brain chemicals ‘endocannabinoids’ help to enhance your sense of well-being.

Endocannabiniods vary from endorphins as they are able to move easily through the cellular barrier separating the bloodstream from the brain, where they induce short-term psychoactive effects including feelings of calm and reduced anxiety.

Any form of physical exercise is better than nothing. However, running has been found to reduce symptoms related to depression and also increases hippocampus volume in young adults.

‘Exercise has a dramatic anti-depressive effect,’ according to David Linden, PhD; a professor of neuroscience at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

‘It blunts the brain’s response to physical and emotional stress.’

Partaking in regular cardiovascular exercise can also help to prevent cognitive decline which can lead to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Exercise could produce new brain cells in certain locations through a process known as neurogenesis which may lead to an overall improvement in brain performance.

Regular running also reduces inflammation in the body. People who are perpetually stressed show an increased level of peripheral inflammation. The body starts to produce these inflammatory markets that are a sign of stress in the body. These increase in volume when the body is stressed or if we are fighting a physical disease. When people become depressed these markers are increase. Running reduces these peripheral inflammatory markers.

‘Voluntary exercise is the single best thing one can do to slow the cognitive decline the accompanies normal aging,’ advises Linden.

Researchers and medical practitioners have clearly established that aerobic exercises like running can have the same effect as taking anti-depressants.

A study of 14,000 people undertaken by Aspics during the Covid Pandemic concluded that 82% of UK runners found that running helps to clear their mind and 78% feel more sane and in control as a result of running.

Running anywhere is good, however being outdoors generally provides superior health benefits

Other studies show that where you run can also add additional benefits to your health. Running outdoors rather than on a treadmill has shown slightly greater health benefits.

Six Ways Running Improves Your Health

  1. Running clears the head and helps you to focus

2. Running helps stave off depression

3. Running can Reduce Stress

4. Running can help you avoid Degenerative Brain Diseases such as Dementia

5. Running has been found to provide similar Benefits to Mediation

6. Running can help to control Inflammation in the Body

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