Forrest Gump ran an estimated 15248 km, five times across America before he decided to go back home. While it is surely not necessary running thaaat much, going out for a jog is still a great idea!
It is an extremely effective and useful physical exercise. Regular jogging influences our physiology, thinking and self-esteem, and this is confirmed by science. This type of physical activity has a lot of advantages. Running activates almost all the muscles in our body, perfectly trains the heart and generally brings tremendous health benefits.
"If you want to be strong - run,
if you want to be beautiful - run,
if you want to be smart - run!"
We are less nervous and worried
Running and aerobic exercise can help manage stress as well as overcome anxiety. No wonder why Forrest just couldn’t stop running! Runners sleep better, and regular jogging is recommended for sleep disturbances. While running, we are distracted from problems and habitual thoughts. But how does it work?
First, the hormone cortisol, which is released during stress, helps us run better by keeping our blood sugar stable.
Secondly, jogging makes us calmer at the brain level - levels of gama-amino-butyric acid, the neurotransmitter of peace and quiet, increase, and genes associated with stress are turned off.
Thirdly, running does not just calm the head. When we think of “nerves,” we imagine the brain, right? But there is also a peripheral nervous system. It affects the work of internal organs and consists of two sections- sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Constant stress can lead to an imbalance in the work of the two sections. Therefore, we feel either constantly on edge, or, conversely, weak and apathetic. The process calms down the peripheral nervous system as well.
We feel happier
Overcoming kilometers each time gives the brain neurochemical "rewards" - endorphins and endocanabinoids. These are our internal drugs that bring happiness and pain relief. It is the high euphoria we feel after an intensive exercise!
Both the movement itself and the achievement of training goals give the brain a mediator of pleasure and reward - dopamine. It is the craving for dopamine reward that, once started, drives us to jog over and over again.
Also running and being outdoors promote the release of serotonin, which makes us excited and happy. A lack of serotonin is associated with clinical depression, loss of strength and mood in premenstrual syndrome. Depression cannot always be overcome by running, but runners are more likely to escape it!
Training and participating in competitions is going beyond our own boundaries, allowing us to feel our strengths and capabilities. Therefore, runners and other athletes have predominantly high self-esteem and a positive attitude towards their bodies.
Also people who play sports and go jogging in particular have a better sex life ;). This is due to both high self-esteem and good physical shape, and due to the positive effect of running on the hormones.
We think more clearly, even as we age!
Research shows that running and aerobic exercise promote the survival of nerve cells in the brain. Due to the rhythmic movement of the legs, neurotrophin is released in the brain - a substance that protects neurons and prevents them from dying. Running reduces oxidative stress, and slows brain aging.
Our neurons are constantly networking. In the language of science, this is called neuroplasticity: new connections are formed, thanks to which we learn to move or remember. And running actively contributes to this.
Runners have better connections between brain regions that are involved in planning, decision-making, memory, and multitasking. And the more we run, the stronger this effect.
We are getting healthier
Jogging is good for exercising your heart and reducing the risk of heart attack. With regular exercise, we adapt to them, and the so-called cardiovascular adaptation (cardiovascular fitness) improves.
The joints of the legs are exposed to significant stress while running. But if you train wisely, choose the right shoes and pay attention to technique, running is good for joints, especially those with osteoarthritis.
Running helps to normalize weight and prevents the development of hereditary obesity. It is difficult to lose weight from just running, but regular exercise changes your lifestyle, makes you eat right and stick to the regime. All this, together with the reduction of anxiety, the launch of the cascades of longevity, the tuning of the nervous system, helps to lose weight and maintain a normal weight.