More than a runner’s high; it’s a runner’s therapy
You may already have noticed that you feel calmer and less anxious after a run. Studies show that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and beta-endorphin. These neurotransmitters can elevate your mood and help reduce depression. Madhukar Trivedi, M.D.’s research shows that therapeutic benefits of exercise increases with intensity. Running at a moderate to high intensity for 30 to 35 minutes, three or four times a week, is most effective for getting rid of your blues and irritability.
You’ve probably heard of people running in order to “clear their heads.” To get maximum feel-good benefits, take a few deep breaths before you start on your run. Deep breathing can help you calm down by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system. As you run, be conscious of your breathing and try to imagine that with each exhale, you are breathing out all your worries and negative energy. And with each inhale, tell yourself you are breathing in fresh, positive energy from the world around you. Choose from one of the scenic paths around Santa Barbara, and take in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, and reinvigorate yourself. And if this running therapy just isn’t enough for those especially rough days, maybe you can make a pit stop at Ben & Jerry’s after your run for a scoop of Chocolate Therapy.
This article referenced “Get Some Running Therapy” by Betsy Noxon, Runner’s World
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