Re­duces stress & im­proves your mood

Canadian Running - - GOLDEN SHOE AWARDS -

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Many run­ners can at­test

to run­ning’s abil­ity to clear their head and mull over prob­lems. “Run­ning pro­vides an at­ti­tude ad­just­ment,” writes Run­ning Room founder John Stan­ton in his book, Run­ning: The Com­plete Guide to Build­ing Your Run­ning Pro­gram. “The em­pow­er­ment and sense of self con­trol is the very rea­son many run­ners run.” Aer­o­bic ex­er­cise helps reg­u­late cor­ti­sol, a hor­mone that’s re­leased in re­sponse to stress, and in­creases neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, chem­i­cals in the brain that in­clude sero­tonin, nor­ep­i­neph­rine, dopamine, and en­dor­phins. (En­dor­phins are what con­trib­ute to the feel­ing of the “run­ner’s high.”) Va­lerie Tay­lor, head of the psy­chi­a­try de­part­ment at the Univer­sity of Cal­gary, says run­ning can also help with sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der. “Run­ning forces you, in some places, hope­fully at least, to be out­side and that’s go­ing to in­crease your ex­po­sure to sun­light,” Tay­lor says. For April Cun­ning­ham, a writer and mother in Saint John, N.B., her runs al­low her time to her­self. “It re­ally lifts your mood like noth­ing else can. As a mom to three young kids – two ba­bies who are one and a four-year-old – it’s in­tense, let me tell you,” she says with a laugh. “I love them so much, but they are busy and they need me non-stop… When I’m able to get out­side and run, even if it’s push­ing a stroller, it’s re­ally re­ju­ve­nat­ing.”

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