“The simple fact of running for an hour every day, thereby ensuring time for myself, became a decisive habit for my mental health,” he acknowledges in his book What I mean when I talk about running Japanese writer, winner of the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, Haruki Murakami. When you run, you take a break, take a breath, breathe, distance yourself from problems and, without realizing it, process and integrate your vital moments.
It is an action that goes beyond physical exercise. If analyzed from a biomechanical point of view, it is a global movement of the body that can have a great impact on mental health, through the stimulation of areas of the brain.
the exercise is A medicine itself, if prescribed in the correct doses. A review of the Annual Review of Medicine points out that people who practice it have better mental health compared to sedentary ones. Most studies suggest that training, particularly aerobic training, would improve symptoms related to depression and anxiety. For this reason it is included in the treatment recommendations of the American Psychiatric Association.
Research indicates that these mood improvements may be caused by increased blood circulation to the brain, through an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and thus physiological reactivity to stress. This physiological impact is probably mediated by the communication of this axis with various brain regions, including the limbic system. “This area regulates our emotions and moods. Inside there are structures such as the hypothalamus, which manages that the system is balanced and its needs satisfied; the hippocampus, which facilitates memory, learning and motivation; and the amygdala, the sentinel of the emotional brain, alerts you to dangers that could put your safety at risk”, explains health psychologist Manuel Antolin.
In addition to this, how would exercising the race help our brain? Running requires neural, top-down, forward control responses of multimodal sensory input to execute the coordinated movements and balance required to stride. According to research, the prefrontal cortex, a brain region involved in cognition and mood regulation, is partially involved in running, especially when there is a demand for coordinated action. Muscles throughout the body, particularly the legs, are continually recruited to propel yourself forward while supporting body weight.
Would I get these same positive effects if I ride a bike? Running has positive effects on mood and executive function, related to prefrontal activation, compared to other forms of exercise that do not require as much coordination, such as pedaling. Additionally, the mechanical impact of each foot strike during running has been shown to increase blood circulation, which may benefit brain activation.
Remove the ‘knot’ from the chest
Something very interesting is to look for the differences between the environments you choose to practice the race, recommends Antolin. “It is not the same emotions that can cause running through an urban area, surrounded by people, traffic, noise, pollution; to go out through a park, the field or the mountains. The reset, the disconnection and the mental clarity increase when choosing natural terrains”, he explains. And he adds: “If the opportunity exists, it is advisable to try the different sensations between these spaces.”
A study, published by the prestigious journal Nature, demonstrates that to the best of our knowledge, a moderate-intensity run would induce a positive mood state and improve executive function, coinciding with cortical activation in the prefrontal subregions involved in inhibitory control and emotional regulation. Running helps undo that knot in the chest.
“However, soon after I stop running, everything I’ve suffered and everything miserable I’ve felt is forgotten, as if it never happened, and I’m already determined to do better next time,” Murakami explained. in his work. Perhaps what he wrote was due to the euphoria experienced after running. At first, it was thought that the main culprits for these sensations were the beta-endorphin levels that would rise in the bloodstream during the course of a race. This fact and the endorphins in the brain could be related to the feeling of being on top. They also help to feel less pain, it can act as a natural pain reliever, improving the ability to withstand longer periods of exercise.
The call high Running is characterized by a mixture of simultaneous sensations: euphoria and relaxation. For decades, scientists believed that endorphins were primarily responsible. Studies found through imaging that, during two-hour runs, runners’ prefrontal and limbic regions (which light up in response to emotions like love) released endorphins. The greater the increase in endorphins in these areas of the brain, the more euphoric they felt.
Endorphins and cannabinoids
But in recent years, research has revealed that endorphins might not be the only ones responsible for these good feelings. Instead, new studies point to another type of molecule: endocannabinoids. Like endorphins, exercise seems to release them into the bloodstream. If you feel euphoric or relaxed after running, these molecules found in the human body (and similar to the active ingredients in cannabis) may be responsible.
As the Japanese writer described: “While running, maybe I think of rivers. Maybe think about the clouds. But, in substance, I don’t think about anything. Simply, I keep running in the middle of that silence that I longed for, in the middle of that flirtatious and handmade silence. It’s really great. Whatever they say”. Feeling how the wind caresses your face with each stride, perceiving your heartbeat… Breathing out again, even if you are short of breath. Running can be a tool to improve your concentration, beat stress, and improve your mood. I would not count. Use the.
From the theory to the practice
- Assessment and recognition of medical aptitude. It should be the first step before buying the latest model of sneakers. Invest in knowing your state of health. Take a medical fitness examination in a clinical setting, check how your heart is working. A sports doctor, together with a physical activity professional, will instruct you on how to ride safely.
- “You have to be fit to be able to run, not run to be fit”said physical therapist Diane Lee at the time. Starting from this premise, running (as long as you have adequate neuromuscular conditioning) is favorable for physical health: it improves cardiovascular resistance, strengthens muscles and bones.
- Train strength. During the race, the impact of the stride on the ground produces a reaction force that is projected in two ways: in impulse to lift the foot to continue the race and in vibrations that must be absorbed by the organism. The muscles should work properly. That comes hand in hand with strength training. Not only will you run better, you will also prevent injuries. Many times the practice is abandoned because the house is starting from the roof, discomfort, overloads and bad feelings arrive.
- Alternate shooting with walking. You can start by alternating two minutes of walking at a brisk pace, with one minute of filming and gradually increasing your running time.
- Listen to the body. Don’t ignore how you feel when you run. Remember: if it hurts, don’t do it. In the event of any joint discomfort, see a professional (podiatrist, physiotherapist or trainer) who can assess where the cause may lie. If you don’t pay attention to pain, it can lead to injury and put you out of the race.
- Prepare to feel. Besides of high, you may experience reduced anxiety and feelings of depression, increased memory, concentration and creativity. Try running through green environments.
- Feed your body the energy it needs. The rule that running improves depression can find an exception in people suffering from pathologies such as restrictive anorexia. “Malnutrition would cause depression and if the patient has little energy due to his caloric deficit, running can aggravate his malnutrition and, therefore, increase his depressive state,” Antolin clarifies.
- recover. Allow yourself rest days. Recovering well is as important as training.
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Source: EL PAIS