Anne Roderique-Jones wrote a wonderful piece about running for mental health reasons for Self magazine. Here’s an excerpt.
“In November, the New York Times reported on a few recently published studies that pooled together past research on exercise and depression. Turns out, the evidence shows exercise has a notable impact on brain chemistry, so much so that it may help treat depression and even potentially prevent it from developing. Self has previously reported on exercise’s many mental health benefits, including boosting your mood and relieving stress. Mental health experts even recommend exercise in conjunction with therapy and medication to treat different forms of depression, like SAD, and anxiety. But more research is needed to determine if exercise can actually cause long-term chemical changes to the brain to successfully combat depression, and if so, how much and what type of exercise it would take.
“In the meantime, it’s only fair to give my regular running routine the credit it deserves for keeping my mind clear and my mood positive.
“I started running during the most depressing chapter of my young adult life. I was struggling to navigate a brand-new marriage while picking up the pieces after my father’s sudden death. I loathed my job, and my husband and I struggled financially while he chugged through the stressors of nursing school. Plus, I was overweight. As a young 20-something, I was forced to deal with grown-up situations head-on and running got me through it. I learned that this simple exercise could make me feel better and help me navigate the turds that life throws my way.”
In fact, I’ve been at it nearly every day for the past 12 years, and attribute my positive mental place and sunny disposition to this choice of exercise. It’s just a bonus that it keeps me physically fit.
“On the day after Election Day 2016, I woke up in a hot mess of despair like the rest of the Pantsuit Nation and I knew that the only way to combat the news was to lace up my sneakers and run it out. I did the same thing battling the grief of my dad’s death. I ran though the stress of moving across the country—twice. I run if I’m stressed out about a deadline. But, I also ran on the morning of my husband’s grad school graduation from Columbia. I ran on the day of a job promotion, and when my best friend’s babies were born. I run to combat writer’s block, and during all of the ordinary days in between. I’ve run on five continents and nearly 30 countries. Running is my therapist with a prettier office. It’s given me that high, but the best part is that it helps me slog through the lows—and because of that, I’m a happier person.”
Read the full article here.