March 20, 2020 1:45 PM
Track and field enthusiast Madisson Ledan discusses the latest information on how running regularly can improve overall mental health.
BOYNTON BEACH, FL / March 20, 2020 / It’s no secret that running helps build muscle and promote superior heart health. However, many people don’t know that running can drastically improve mental health too. Former track and field star and active runner Madisson Ledan recently discussed the latest information connecting running and superior mental health.
"Many people have heard of the ‘runner’s high,’ but the reality of it can be hard to believe if you’re not currently a runner," Madisson Ledan says. "However, the more you run, the more you start to understand exactly what that feeling is."
The term "runner’s high" is what many runners use when describing the feeling associated with the body’s release of endorphins while running. When a person first start’s running, the heart starts working harder to push blood throughout the body more quickly. The lungs start pumping faster, and the brain prepares the runner for what lies ahead. The runner then starts pushing himself to run harder, faster, or longer, and that’s when endorphins are released.
However, according to Madisson Ledan and other running enthusiasts, the "runner’s high" isn’t the only way mental health is improved. Madisson Ledan states that running can also aid in stress management. Regular exercise, like running, increases the concentrations of the chemical norepinephrine, which helps the brain respond to stress in a more calm and strategic way.
"Similar to how running reduces stress, running can reduce anxiety too," Madisson Ledan says. "The chemicals released in the brain while running can help you feel calmer during a period of anxiety."
The release of stress-reducing chemicals in the brain is a major way running improves mental health. Running also promotes a mood boost by increasing productivity and allowing for a more restful night’s sleep. Runners like Madisson Ledan state that they sleep drastically better after a day of running than a day without. Sleep experts agree that moving around roughly six hours before bed increases body temperature. As that core temperature falls, the body is signaled that it’s time to sleep.
"I’m always more motivated and productive when I’m running regularly," Madisson Ledan adds.
Research states that those who run regularly are more productive than people who are less active. Runners, and others who exercise on a regular basis, also tend to have more energy.
"It can be so difficult for people to fit running into their busy schedules," Madisson Ledan says. "But they don’t know that running, as opposed to a coffee break or power nap, can actually be the energy and productivity boost they need. The feeling of being more productive is a mood booster in itself."
Madisson Ledan and other running enthusiasts hope people will consider all the mental and physical benefits of the sport before skipping their next run.