Want to exercise between your ears? Go for a run
We all know that running is good for us. Heading out to pound the pavements is a sure-fire way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular performance, shed fat and perhaps even achieve that smokin’ physique. But is there more to the art of running?
If you’ve ever put on a pair of running shoes and taken up jogging, you can’t help but have noticed that putting one foot in front of the other for miles on end does something much more than just trim a couple of inches off the tummy.
Look past the burning muscles, the heaving chest and the pounding heart and you’ll find that a swift 5k also does something for the grey matter between the ears, too. Call it nourishing the soul or a primal form of catharsis; running has a knack for exercising the mind as well as the body.
From elite athletes to business professionals with hectic lifestyles, any keen runner will tell you that the benefits of running are more wide ranging than just a bit of a workout – especially when there’s a beautiful landscape waiting out there beyond your doorstep.
Whether it’s a scenic coastal gallop up the Northumberland Coast AONB, an easy circular around Ford Moss Reserve at Ford and Etal Estates or an assault on the Kielder Marathon at Kielder Water & Forest Park, you can’t help but feel energized by stretching those legs.
Endorphins are the key to feeling happy – chemically speaking. And nothing gets these euphoria juices going quite like hitting the open roads or churning out the miles on a treadmill. A regular hit of endorphins has even been found to be of great benefit to those suffering from clinical depression or anxiety.
Tip: Explore Northumberland by trying new running routes and you’ll only enhance this feeling of freedom and contentment.
The mental benefits of exercise can be profound. The chemical Norepinephrine plays an important role in moderating the brain’s reaction to stress, and levels of this hormone are found to increase during exercise.
Springboard for confidence
Self esteem and confidence doesn’t come from a washboard stomach or perfectly sculpted calves; instead the process of getting fitter, healthier and more capable physically is what helps us to be more confident in our capabilities.
Runners who regularly set themselves new targets and goals – be it building towards their first marathon or knocking a second off their 100 metre PB – get a sense of fulfillment from competing and pushing their performance to new heights. This winning attitude permeates other aspects of a runner’s life, and they soon see obstacles as “challenges” rather than “barriers” to success.
Tip: Hill ascents like those found in the Fell Running at Northumberland National Park really get those calves working.
Research has shown that exercising regularly can boost memory and enhance our ability to learn. How? Well, apparently physical activity increases cell production in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls memory and learning).
Running has been described as a healthy addiction, and there many people who have replaced smoking, drinking and even drug abuse with marathons. This can be traced back to the way the brain releases dopamine. Those who have previously become addicted to the dopamine released during substance abuse can often get the same hit of dopamine from exercise – but without the life-threatening side effects.
This article was written by Winn Solicitors, the road accident claims specialists. If you have been involved in a road accident while out running in the last three years, put your trust in Winn Solicitors, the UK’s leading no win no fee personal injury solicitors for non-fault accident claims.
Images courtesy of Mapichai/ freedigitalphotos.net