If I offered you a magic pill that could reduce stress levels, boost happy hormones, improve your memory, aid in learning new things, AND boost muscle tone, would you take it?
I’d be first in line for something like that.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill. But there IS an exercise that’s scientifically proven to provide all of the benefits of the “magic pill.”
In today’s blog post, we’ll tell you all about this miracle exercise, how often you should do it, and detail all its physical and emotional health benefits.
Running: a miracle exercise for mood and memory
We all know that running is good for the body. It improves cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, strengthening the heart, and distributing oxygen. Running also promotes the production of bone-building hormones and enzymes, leading to increased bone density.
But did you know that running can improve your memory? As we age, we begin to experience brain shrinkage. Beginning in our 30s and 40s and increasing at 60, this shrinkage can manifest as memory loss, trouble recalling words, and difficulty learning something new. Brain shrinkage is why kids can easily learn a new language while adults struggle.
Running promotes neurogenesis (a fancy way of saying the birth of new brain cells) in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for forming and keeping new memories.
And like the telemarketer of the 90s always said, “But wait, there’s more!” Running can boost your endorphins (happy hormones), reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep. By mimicking stress on your body, running can train your body to practice working through pressure, reducing stress’ negative impacts.
How much should you run each week?
A study by ASICS shows that 20 minutes is the magic number for boosting brain power and lifting moods. After just 20 minutes of running, participants showed:
- 26% improvement in brain processing speed
- 58% reduction in cognitive stress
- 18% improvement in relaxation levels
- 29% improvement in coping with stress
- 21% improvement in memory
If you incorporate at least 20 minutes of running into your fitness routine 3 to 5 times a week, it won’t be long until you’re reaping the rewards of running.
Is running right for everyone?
We can’t all be Usain Bolt or FloJo, but most people can (with the sign-off from their doctor, of course!) train to run. However, some injuries or anatomical anomalies can prevent you from safely running. To get many benefits of running without hitting the pavement, try swimming, biking, or elliptical running.
While the benefits of running are undeniable, pounding the pavement should be incorporated into a balanced fitness routine. Augment your running with Enhancewell Fitness classes on days you don’t run. Our Enhanced Stretch class is perfect for running recovery days when you want to destress, improve movement, elongate muscles, and expedite recovery.
Sign up for a virtual Enhanced Stretch class today and get the restoration you need to continue your running journey.