So the general thought has always been ‘you only go jogging when you’re looking to perk up physical well-being and build up some stamina,’ or that it is meant for your grossly fat co-worker who inconveniences other workers because he takes up to two seats whenever he hops on the work bus.
Oh, don’t get me started on the ladies desperately running just so they can shame the belly fat. I am not saying it doesn’t work (no, far from that). It actually works like magic.
In fact, running is a very natural and effective way to control excess weight, and doing just 20minutes daily really burns a lot of calories; but there is more to it than just gaining stamina or trimming the body down to look as thin as a toothpick. Jogging comes with many psychological benefits as well.
Aside from the physical health benefits of jogging presents, it also improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen to the brain, increasing mental flexibility, and improving depressive moods and symptoms.
No kidding, I’ve experienced it! And anyone who jogs regularly would back me up on this so don’t knock it till you’ve try it.
Jogging is an aerobic exercise which comes with intense cognitive demands. From jumping out of your bed to dealing with the fatigue while on road; frankly, it could be quite exasperating and it takes great will and strength to subject the body to such a grueling routine.
But in overcoming all those daily temptations to sleep more and skip a run, and not allowing the painful burns in your thighs to cut short that long run you had planned, the brain is also being trained to be determined and resilient enough to tackle real-life obstacles.
Because the brain becomes aware of its capacity to push through frustrating situations, you’re consequently able to adapt quickly to change and keep going when faced with problems and all that running in effect, helps you build strength in other aspects of life.
Another great psychological benefit jogging offers is its ability to influence mood and attitude. During those long runs, chemicals including endorphins and dopamine- also known as happiness hormones- are released to the brain, giving the body a feel-good spirit and fostering a general sense of happiness.
I discovered this just weeks ago after months of being incapacitated by depression; so if you are struggling to deal with such mental disorders you probably need jogging like newborns need breast-milk. With the running presenting a task to focus on besides their depressed state, there is less tension, less fatigue, and less confusion and these happiness hormones and neurotransmitters flood the brain to lift a broken mood.
It should therefore not come to you as a surprise that scientific studies have previously pointed to the fact that aerobic exercises can be as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression.
So lace up this weekend and hit the road. Whether it is early in the morning or just when the sun is setting, you decide.
But whatever you do, make sure you don’t jog just for the physical health benefits because there are positive mental effects to reap as well.