January 11, 2019
Middle Pages Editor
Running. The bane of your existence.
Now, I know I am not the first person to tell you that running is good for you. In fact, I am probably one of dozens of people who have previously chided you for not being more active. That is, unless you are one of those health-junkies who cannot get to the gym enough. If you are like the rest of us, however, there are a few things you should know about the dreaded miracle pill.
You probably know that if you want to lose weight or take better care of your body, running is great. Perfect, really. Although, running does not just help you physically; it also has numerous major, positive effects on your mental health. Like, a lot a lot.
Here is why you should run (and what your doctor forgets to tell you).
Stress: Almost anyone who has spent more than a day in high school can tell you that it is stressful. There are exams, tedious homework assignments, mandatory club meetings, long, exhausting practices you have to attend. Dealing with all of your academic and not-so-academic priorities while still trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, can be horribly stressful.
Anyone who has been in a pressuring situation can tell you that stress affects your mood, your health, your appetite, and nearly everything else that keeps you from being a productive human being. Well, here’s the good news: running actually forces your body to release any of the excess energy and hormones you might be holding onto that are causing you to stress. What’s more, some studies even show that it goes as far as working to fight anxiety. Apparently, running can act as a form of medication to relieve uneasiness.
Sleep: If you are one of those students who has trouble shutting down at night, have no fear, running is here! In all seriousness, running is great for your sleeping habits. The benefits of running is a long one: regulated circadian rhythms, enhanced daytime alertness, faster onset of sleep, and deeper sleep. What do all those fancy words mean? In short, running helps your sleep patterns a whole lot. The science behind this idea is that when you run, you raise your body core’s temperature. When it drops back down a few hours laters, it signals to the body that it is time for sleep. So going for a run five or six hours before you hit the hay is going to improve your sleep substantially.
Self-Esteem: This might be surprising, but running is great for your confidence. When you go running and set a goal for yourself, there is a sense of accomplishment and empowerment when you complete that goal. When you achieve something as simple as running half a mile, you feel good about yourself and your body. Running boosts your confidence in ways that no amount of followers or likes on a post will be able to do.
Hippocampus: Running (or anything that increases your heart rate) can help enlarge this part of your brain. The hippocampus is the part in your brain involved in verbal memory and learning. When you run, you are improving your capacity to learn and retain new information and vocabulary. Yeah, vocab. Stop worrying about English or History and go for a run before you start studying! Another fun fact: running not only makes your hippocampus ginormous, but it also improves your creative skills. Basically, you are just going to have a higher brain performance overall.
If, after reading this article, you still are not convinced that you should go for an early-morning jog sometime this week, here is one last thing you should now: running does not have to be difficult. A habit of running 50 minutes every week (equivalent to about one, six-mile run) can protect you from physical health risks like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, and some cancers. Running can be easy and healthy for you. Who knows, you might even like it.