Whether you’re a professional or beginner runner, you will be aware of the fantastic benefits that running brings to your brain health. Many people use running as an outlet to improve their mental health regularly.
Running seems to work well to boost energy and remove certain stressors in a person’s life. Many people believe that this happens as when you run, you stay focused on finishing the workout.
It’s kind of like meditation. When your mind starts to wander, your brain will put you right back to where you need to be.
All of this being said, does running improve your brain health? The good news is, yes it does. Running regularly can improve your mental wellbeing, your memory, motor skills, and cognitive functioning.
So, not only can running make you happier in your life but it can also help to improve a lot of long-term issues you may encounter in the future. Individuals that start running can see improvements in their attention span and executive function.
Let’s take a look at how running can improve other aspects of your brain health positively.
Will running improve your memory?
When it comes to running, there have been so many studies carried out on how it affects the brain. Several studies show how running can improve your memory. This doesn’t just apply to running either, it also applies to any sort of aerobic activity.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed some amazing results. The scientists observed an exercise group for over a year. During this time, they kept track of the blood flow to the individual’s brain.
After the year was over, scientists noted that the group had a 47% improvement in memory exercises. If this fantastic result doesn’t impress you still, the people who took part in the study all had memory issues, to begin with.
You may be wondering how this happened. Well, the scientists found that aerobic activity pumped blood to parts of their brain that help to improve your memory, mental sharpness, and even verbal skills.
Scientists are now confident that they may be able to create a drug that mimics this blood flow. This would be a remarkable breakthrough for people who may suffer from Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders and not be able to run or begin an exercise regime.
This study in itself brings so much hope to both individuals with memory disorders and their families and friends.
Will running increase your brain cells?
Running will not only positively affect you physically but also mentally. Believe it or not, running does help to increase your number of brain cells. This may sound super complicated so let us break it down for you further.
When you exercise, be that running or any other activity, your heart rate will increase. If you have a fitness tracker, you will be very familiar with this. As your heart rate increases, your heart begins to pump blood around your body more efficiently.
The better blood flow in your body means that blood is increasingly being pumped to your brain. This allows more nutrients and oxygen to enter your brain. So, what does this do? It helps to release essential proteins in the brain.
These proteins are so important to improve your brain health overall. The proteins will replenish your brain cells (or neurons) by keeping them healthy and promoting new neuron growth. Brain cells allow you to function better in day-to-day life so they are vital to keeping you mentally and physically healthy.
Can running rewire the brain?
The brain is one of the most complicated organs in our bodies. Many people argue that we will never fully get to grips with every aspect of the brain. However, one process that is highly supported is the brain’s ability to rewire itself.
This process is commonly known as neuroplasticity. Your brain could automatically start to adapt itself and it could also be encouraged to by other activities such as learning a new language, starting a creative hobby, and also through exercise.
Running can rewire the brain. Whether you are struggling with memory loss or mental health problems, running could be exactly what you need. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to your brain which promotes new brain cell growth and reduction of the symptoms of depression.
Taking up running also improves your physical health. This leads to you getting better sleep, improved fitness levels, and stronger muscles. All of these things all help to contribute to improving your mental health also.
Rewiring the brain can promote an individual to have better memory and the ability to learn more efficiently. So, if you are thinking about getting yourself out of a tough situation, maybe try taking up running to help you along the way.
How does running improve your mental health?
By now, you should be pretty clued up on how beneficial running is for brain health. A common question asked is how does running improve a person’s mental health. This is all down to the hormones that get released in the brain during anaerobic exercise.
When an individual runs or does any other type of anaerobic exercise, serotonin and dopamine are released into the body. If you’re unsure what these hormones are, you are in luck as we’re just about to explain them to you.
- Serotonin: This hormone is otherwise known as the happiness hormone. It helps to stabilize your mood and boosts happiness and a sense of wellbeing in your brain. Due to these fantastic benefits, it also aids digestion and helps you get a good night’s sleep.
- Dopamine: This hormone keeps you going. It is essential for building good and healthy habits. The chemical sends signals from the body to the brain to tell the brain that you have done a good job. Therefore, your motivation to keep going increases, and you feel completely happy with what you have done.
Overall, keeping up with a running routine will help to stabilize your mental health by an alarming amount. People can report feeling better instantly after one run. So, why not try it out?
If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, hypnotherapy can really help change your negative mindset into a positive frame of mind. Expert hypnotherapist Stuart Downing is one of the best hypnotherapists in the UK and life coach who can treat any issues such as hypnotherapy for anxiety in his London hypnosis clinic, practice in Birmingham, or through online hypnotherapy sessions.