We spend a lot of time focusing on all the ways that running makes your body healthier; it helps reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other unpleasant physical conditions. It helps you shed - and keep off - unwanted pounds. There are many other ways that running also improves the way that you think and how you feel. If you’re regularly running you already know what a mounting body of scientific research is now proving: no matter how good or bad you feel before you hit the road, a run will make everything feel better. Still, there always seem to be a flurry of logistical issues that keep us from getting out the door.Next time you’re waffling about whether to get out to run, just think of this:
It can feel downright indulgent to take 30 or 60 minutes to run, especially if you’ve planned to break away for a lunchtime workout. But here’s reason to make it happen: research has proven that when you move your body, your brain works better. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, those who exercised 2.5 hours per week - about 30 minutes per day five days per week - reported improvements in productivity -- they perceived that they got more done at work, had a greater work capacity, and were sick less often.
You often can’t control how much chaos, stress, or calamity blows in each day. But you can control how prepared you are to take it on. Research has shown that as little as 30 minutes of helps inoculate you against whatever stresses occur later in the day. According to a 2012 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress even after they’re done working out.
You’ve surely heard of a runner’s high, and there’s mounting evidence that it’s a real thing. A 2007 study in the journal Physiological Behavior showed that running causes the same kind of neurochemical adaptations in brain reward pathways that also are shared by addictive drugs. A 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health proved that just 30 minutes of running during the week for three weeks boosted sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day.
Research has proven that working out regularly will help you stave off memory loss related to aging, and other mental powers. A 2012 study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that the evidence is insurmountable that regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline, particularly functions like task switching, selective attention, and working memory. Studies consistently found that fitter older adults scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers. What’s more, in stroke patients, regular exercise improves memory, language, thinking, and judgment problems by almost 50%. The research team found “significant improvements” in overall brain function at the conclusion of the program, with the most improvement in attention, concentration, planning, and organizing.
Even if you’re just an occasional runner, and meet the minimum recommended amount of physical activity—(30 minutes, 5 times per week), you’ll live longer than you would if you were inactive. Studies show that when different types of people started exercising, they live longer. Smokers added 4.1 years to their lives; nonsmokers gained 3 years. Even if you’re still smoking, you’ll get 2.6 more years. Cancer survivors extended their lives by 5.3 years. Those with heart disease gained 4.3 years.