The Invisible Benefits of Running
Sharpening your memory and boosting your creativity are just the start
When most people consider adding running to their routines, it’s for the physical benefits, which makes sense: Running can improve your cardiovascular fitness and bone health, and add years to your life. Additionally, it will help you torch calories like no other activity. But the sport has payoffs that extend well beyond the physical. Here are six unexpected ways running can enhance your life, starting with how running in the right shoe can set the tone for not just fitness, but well-being as a whole.
Build a Strong Foundation
Elinor Fish, CEO and founder of Run Wild Retreats and Wellness, says that running can serve as the base for overall health. “Think of it as the bottom layer of a pyramid, supporting all aspects of your wellbeing,” she says. To support that foundation, every runner should find a reliable sneaker, such as the ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 25, ASICS’s flagship stability model, now in its 25th iteration. A shoe with that kind of history offers up years of design enhancements, and the newest version works with the runner’s foot to provide a responsive, cushioned, and supportive ride.
Get Better Sleep
Nearly 30 percent of the adult population reports sleep issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One way to counteract that issue is with regular exercise like running, according to a study from the University of South Carolina. Fish agrees. “Our bodies repair and heal while we sleep,” she says. “Running puts our hormones in better balance, enhancing our ability to rest.”
You’ve probably heard of “runner’s high,” and the good news is it’s not an urban myth. Recent research from the University of California at Davis found that exercise raises the levels of important neurotransmitters that are often low in patients with anxiety and depression. Increasingly, physicians are prescribing aerobic exercise to patients suffering from these conditions.
Ever get stuck on a problem at work, or find your creativity stunted? Running can help with both, as plenty of writers, artists, and CEOs will attest. “Running can help you move things along,” says Fish. The same cortisol that increases stress can block the brain functions needed for creativity and problem solving. Running lowers cortisol and allows creativity to flow. And when you’re wearing a stability shoe like the ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 25, you don’t need to think about your feet, which frees you up get into that mental-flow state and have even more rewarding runs.
We all struggle with information overload these days, and a slipping memory is often an unfortunate side effect. Running regularly can help you cut through the fog. In a recent University of British Columbia study, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise like running appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
According to Fish, running can change the way people perceive themselves. “Running is empowering, because it allows us to see we are capable of so much more,” she says. “It helps us tear down our inner critic and feel better about ourselves.” This self-confidence carries over into all areas of runners’ lives, making them better employees, friends, parents, and members of their communities.
Ready to lace up and start enhancing all areas of your life? Head to your local running store and get your feet into a pair of ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 25 for the latest shoe technology available. You’ll then be prepared to start laying down your foundation of health.