We all know movement and exercise is essential for our bodies and running is a great way to keep our bodies healthier. But did you know that running also boosts your brain power? Just like muscles in our body, the brain is our number one use-it-or-lose it organ, so check out our 5 great ways running can boost your brain at any age.
- Running releases your brain full of feel-good neurochemicals.
Exercise promotes the release of the feel-good neurochemicals called endorphins. Like many antidepressant medications, running can also help your brain hold on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. And for best results, get out and run in quiet, green spaces instead of crowded streets. It has been found that those who run in parks experience brain activity similar to that seen during meditation, whilst people who run on busy streets experience frustration.
- Running boosts your ability to learn and recall information.
Moderately fit people did better on memory tests than those who were less fit (or not fit at all) in a study performed in 2012 and adds to earlier research that links running to a better ability to focus, to juggle multiple tasks, and to make distinctions.
- Running helps your brain grow.
Our brain as an organ tends to shrink as we age however by running we stimulate the creation of blood vessels and nerve cells within the brain. Studies have also shown that running may help increase the volume of parts of the brain that are linked to vision and hearing and also areas linked to memory and learning.
- Running helps your brain age better.
As well as preventing or reversing age-related shrinkage, running has an influence on neuro chemicals setting us up for healthier-than-average brains later in life. In a study that measured neural markers and cognitive function in middle-aged athletes and non-athletes, researchers found that although cognitive function scores were the same, the athletes’ brains showed greater neural plasticity and metabolic efficiency.
- Running conditions your brain to store more fuel.
As we already know training conditions your muscles to store more fuel, and the same applies to your your brain in that it adapts in the same way. Researchers believe these larger glycogen stores in the brain may be one of the reasons running boosts cognitive function.
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