Today I ran 5k in 32 minutes 50 seconds, smashing my personal best by 2 mins. OK, stop congratulating me… It’s getting embarrassing.
I started running to a) lose some of my flabby belly and b) to improve my mental health and help me cope better with my depression and anxiety. At one point nearly everyone I spoke to about my struggle with depression told me to exercise. I swore that if one more bloody person told me to exercise I was going to exercise my arm by slapping them so hard their eyes would pop out.
BUT! I downloaded the couch to 5k app for the third time and told myself that I would complete the eight week program and see if that helped. If it did, great! If it didn’t then I would enjoy telling all those people so – either way I would end up a bit happier.
Since finishing the program I have felt great. I mean I still cry a lot and want to run away from everything and just get drunk on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, but there are times when I feel amazing.
Here are just a few ways that running helps improve your mental health and lifts your mood:
- Releases endorphins that make us happy
- Reduces stress
- Help improve your sleep
- Gives you more energy
- Improves self-esteem and confidence
- Reduces the likelihood of your mental health getting worse
- Makes you look totes gorgeous (not that you don’t already look like an absolute bombshell)
You don’t even need to start running long distances, (I know that I’ve set the bar quite high with my 5k), even a 10 minute brisk walk can lift your mood. As long as it gets your heart rate up and gets you outside, do it!
What about the gym? Meh, gyms are boring and full of posers, don’t bother with those…