So our last newsletter talked a little bit about stress and how it can affect you in many different ways. Stress is just one factor in the development of many types of mental health problems, which are common, and we should all talk about it a little bit more…
Mental health and wellbeing has been in the spotlight a lot recently, especially with the Head Together campaign championed by the younger members of the royal family (Wills, Kate and Harry showing their support to some determined runners HERE) .
I’d like to talk a little about the mental health benefits of running. We all know running is physically good for you; it significantly reduces your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and various other illnesses. However the mental health benefits are rarely discussed, and it is my opinion that a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body.
A Natural Boost
Exercise in general will give your body a boost of endorphins (the body’s natural “feel good” hormones). This in the short term will give you a little lift no matter what exercise you are doing. However long-term benefits are less direct but just as significant. Once you become a proficient runner, and you are able to cover more miles and perhaps even enter into events and races, you will naturally develop an increased feeling of self-worth and self-esteem.
Joining a running club could also have a positive impact on mental health. The Mental Health Ambassador for England Athletics describes an average run:
“Just running out with friends on a weekend morning, chat becomes therapeutic. There’s something about the rhythm of the feet, the looking ahead, not at your confidante, while banging on about the week’s troubles and triumphs, that helps the conversation to open up. We joke that we’re putting the world to rights, but often we’re simply splurging out all our preoccupations as we jog along.”
Anxiety and Sleep
Most sufferers of mental health issues will report difficulty sleeping, or conversely an inability to wake up. Running regularly will help your body to sleep more deeply and improve your body’s sleep/wake pattern. In addition to this, many medical professionals will tell you that studies have shown that aerobic exercise decreases anxiety and anxiety sensitivity, both of which can affect sleep negatively, and have an overall positive effect on mental health.
Taking the first step
Of course, the first step is always the hardest. In the next blog post I have listed some local running groups; which can guide and support you as you step out. If I have missed any locally please get in touch! You are 40% more likely to reach your running goals if you are part of a club.
You don’t feel you can join a club straight away? That’s why I love the couch-to-5k system, which you can learn about HERE. Start off with this and you’ll be club-worthy in no time.
Practice what you preach
Here at Banchory Chiropractic we all like to run! That’s why we have signed up for the Banchory BEAST RACE this September. Look out for us!
If you are not sure if running is right for you with any current conditions you may have, talk to your chiropractor at your next appointment or call us on 01330 824040. Alternatively drop us an email and someone will get back to you at firstname.lastname@example.org.