I don’t know if it happens to you too, but since I’ve been running if I’m stressed or need to get an idea I don’t even accidentally dream of watching TV-I go out walking or running.
There is a reason why running is such addictive. It makes us feel better both physically and mentally. In addition to making us happy and smarter, the benefits it brings to the brain are not yet finished and perhaps have not even all been discovered yet.
To your personal list of reasons why you run, like if there was a need to give justifications all the time, you can now add these as well.
1. It fights stress
Running and generally any physical activity, when practiced for at least 30 consecutive minutes, increase levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and endorphins, all neurotransmitters that fight depression and anxiety.
Therefore, those who suffer from these deseases should turn to physical activity to relieve the burden or try a possible cure. Those who already have a balanced life should still practice it to further improve it.
2. It helps you to focus better
Getting the substances produced during running into the bloodstream increases focus and thus makes it easier and less mentally stressful to solve problems. This is why many people recommend or like to run in the morning before work: not only because it predisposes them to be more positive but also because they have found positive effects on productivity at work. In fact, being creative and productive means not only “doing many things” but quickly finding the solution to more or less complex problems, doing it creatively, that is, assembling stimuli that come from different areas. And not forgetting that the best way to be productive is to do one thing at a time;)
3. It improves memory
Until recently it was believed that brain cells were the only ones that did not reproduce. In other words, it was thought that we were born with a certain number and that we’d end up lose more and more during our lifetime. Kind of like being told you are destined to get dumber and dumber. It is not good. Then it was discovered that cells in the hippocampus can reproduce. So? The hippocampus is a part of the brain associated with some not-so-secondary functions, and memory is one of them. And speaking of memory, you should not only think about the fact that you remember your mother’s birthday but also about past situations and how you solved (or did not solve) them. Having this information at your fingertips is important, don’t you agree? Today you know that running stimulates the production of hippocampal cells.
4. Runners solve problems better because you think better
Point 3 served precisely to introduce the most interesting takeaway from this research: being more relaxed, more focused and having a more vivid memory also makes it possible to solve problems better and faster. I am not talking about simple problems. I am talking about more complex things that require the brain’s ability to evaluate complex scenarios and to reason with multiple factors and on multiple levels. It’s kind of like the elasticity of your brain and the speed with which it retrieves information and connects it together even in ways that are not seemingly logical are accelerated by the fact that it is well-trained. Exactly like your body.
So, having come this far you will have realized that running and moving in general is no longer just about your physical well-being. It is a deeper and more nuanced issue: thinking better and more efficiently improves your life.
Now you have a way to do it: without pills and without tricks.
(Inspired by“A neuroscientist says there’s a powerful benefit to exercise that is rarely discussed” –Photo credits Stephen Di Donato)