It’s somewhat of a cliché: running is a physical catharsis to give you some therapeutic respite and clarity of mind. Tiring yourself out to energize yourself? It might seem counter-intuitive to non-runners, but all too understood by runners.
While running, some get their best ideas; others make sense of the most troubling of issues. When drugs and therapy didn’t cure Daniele Seiss’ depression, running did. After all, when you push yourself out of your physical comfort zone, your brain and emotions want to move out of theirs, too.
But what’s the science behind it?
Studies have shown vigorous aerobic exercise produce new neurons and increase activity in the brain – the hippocampus and frontal lobe in particular. While the former region is associated with learning and memory, the latter region is, incidentally, associated with clear thinking and emotional regulation.
Heck, there’s even a thing called Dynamic Running Therapy now – running or walking (or even sitting!) to kick the blues and promote a holistic sense of wellness.
So the next time a runner chatters on about why running is so therapeutic, you best believe them!
By Pinky Chng, April 2016