If the idea of lacing up your tennis shoes and pounding the pavement fills you with dread, you should know that this is actually one of the best mood-boosting activities out there. Whether you cover ground on a nearby trail or track, or ramp up the speed on your treadmill at home, running is also an excellent form of stress relief. Following are five reasons why running will make you happier.
Gain More Stamina and Confidence
Running provides total body toning and it's also one of the best exercises for stripping away excess fat. For people who struggle with stubborn pockets of fat at the mid-section, running can quickly create a trimmer and better-defined waistline. With a diligent running program, you'll have better cardiovascular endurance, increased stamina and higher levels of energy in almost no time at all. You'll also recognize a number of remarkable improvements in your overall physique. This can lead to higher levels of confidence and better feelings about yourself overall.
Experience a Sense of Accomplishment and Pride
Running allows people to set small, measurable goals that they can actually achieve. You don't have to commit to running a six-minute mile or covering an incredible distance. No matter what your current level of fitness may be, there are always ways to better your running distance and time without risking injury or setting yourself up for failure. Establishing feasible goals and meeting them will fill you with a sense of accomplishment and pride. It can also encourage you to be more proactive and ambitious in other life areas.
Get a Dose of Mood-Boosting Endorphins
All forms of rigorous, physical exercise cause the body to release mood-boosting chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins, along with other feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, create a surge of energy, increase mental acuity and focus, and make people feel both positive and uplifted. If you push yourself hard enough and long enough, you'll even have the opportunity to experience the famed "runner's high". This is the point at which intense physical exercise stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain for an extended sense of euphoria.
Create a Fun, Feasible Workout That's Easy to Maintain
Running doesn't require a lot of equipment or planning. You don't need anything more than a supportive pair of shoes and a safe place to cover distance. In fact, treadmills can now be bought to suit all homes, which makes it possible to stay true to a running plan, even during times of inclement weather. Even if you have a small-sized apartment, there are plenty of compact, folding units that provide many of the same features and functions that are offered by treadmills at major gyms. With so little preparation required, you'll be able to establish a workout plan that's absolutely stress-free and super easy to adhere to. People who workout regularly tend to feel better about themselves and they also have the greatest ability to maintain balanced body weights and physiques that they feel proud of.
With running, your quality of sleep is also likely to improve. If you struggle with bouts of sleeplessness, running is one of the best activities for ensuring that you drift off at night and get a full eight hours of unbroken sleep. Along with cycling, swimming, power walking and weightlifting, running is an activity that promotes deeper and better sleep for increased mood balance and better overall health. This is a tremendous improvement for those who are chronically under-slept and often feel nervous, edgy and frustrated because of it.
In almost no time, running can make you trimmer, more energetic, and far more confident. This activity fills people with a sense of pride and accomplishment. From a physiological standpoint, it's also one of the surest and easiest ways to flood the body with powerful, mood-boosting chemicals that will leave you feeling good for hours on end.