Running produces new nerve cells and blood vessels in your brain, which increases your brain volume. Normally our brains shrink with age, but running and other vigorous aerobic activities combat that process. Running helps stave off memory loss, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
According to recent studies, exercise is more beneficial to your brain than cognitive practices like memory games. The hippocampus, a vital part of the brain that is connected to memory and learning, declines with age, but running builds new neurons in the hippocampus, keeping you mentally sharp.
Running not only boosts your mental power but also improves your mood. That stress relief you feel after a run is grounded in science. Going for a run can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic. Running releases chemicals in your brain – neurotransmitters and endorphins – that make you “feel good.” Running outside in natures offers an extra shot of feel good. According to studies, exercising outdoors for even 5 minutes improves mood.
So next time you go for a run, remember you’re exercising your mind as well as body. Happy running!