What Are The Healthy Links Between Running and Our Brain?
Running is a form of exercise well known to have many physical benefits. However, research has also shown that running improves mental health similar to meditation. This is because runners can experience several different states of relaxation similar to meditation. One state is often described as a “flow state” while the other is known as the “runner’s high”.
The “runner’s high” is a feeling of euphoria and well-being that is often associated with long-distance running. This feeling is thought to be caused by the release of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are also known to reduce stress and anxiety.
The state of “flow” is a concept that describes a state of mind that is achieved when a person is completely absorbed in an activity. Running is an activity that allows us to focus on the present moment, on our breathing, and on the movement of our bodies. By focusing on the present moment and on our physical sensations, running can help to reduce stress and to improve mood. This is similar to how mindfulness or meditation practice works.
Additionally, running can also increase our heart rate variability (HRV). This is a measure of the balance between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. HRV is associated with a relaxed state of mind, improved focus, and better sleep quality.
Research has also shown that running and meditation can have similar effects on specific areas within the brain. Studies have shown that both activities can increase the size of the hippocampus. This is a region of the brain that is important for memory and learning.
Moreover, running and meditation can also activate the prefrontal cortex, the insula, and the anterior cingulate cortex. These are regions of the brain that are involved in attention, emotion regulation, and self-awareness.
In conclusion, running is as great for your brain as it is for your body. If you plan on staying active on your feet this year, are in pain or are recovering from injury, book a free One2One appointment at your nearest Kintec to find the right shoes or orthotic solutions for you! You will experience the undivided attention from a Kintec Fitting Expert who will guide you through a 30 minute personalized footwear journey.