Running can help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress — and provide a major boost to your sense of self-confidence. According to experts at UPMC Behavioral Health, there is an emerging body of science that supports walking and running as a part of treatment for clinical depression.
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Running Elevates Your Mood
Stepping on the treadmill or taking to the trails can transform your mood.
Studies show that aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, running or jogging, release endorphins that can reduce depression and anxiety. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain — and stress — fighting chemicals that are responsible for the famous “runner’s high.”
Research has found that even a single 30-minute run or walk on the treadmill has the ability to lift your mood. This can elevate you from a good mood to a better mood, or help lift you from a depressed mood to a “normal” mood.
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Running Helps You Cope with Stress
One of the most common psychological benefits of running is stress relief.
Stress can come from many different triggers such as work, family, or life-changing events. Running increases the amount of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. In addition, running gives you time to think about problems or escape them for a while.
Running Builds Self-Confidence
Walking and running is an individual sport — and all you need is a good pair of shoes to get started.
When you set out on a run, no matter if it’s a mile or marathon, you set a goal. Running farther or faster than before can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. For an even bigger self-esteem boost, take your run to the great outdoors. Studies have shown that running outside and soaking up the sun can improve a person’s self-esteem.
UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital is a nationally recognized leader in mental health clinical care, research, and education. It is one of the nation’s foremost university-based psychiatric care facilities through its integration with the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. UPMC Western Psychiatric is the hub of UPMC Western Behavioral Health, a network of nearly 60 community-based programs providing specialized mental health and addiction care for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors throughout western Pennsylvania.