Run to Boost Your Brain

It’s a well-known fact that exercise is a potent mood booster, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed the more you do it. But it’s not just down to the fact that exercise helps you feel better by triggering the release of feel-good neurotransmitters, exercise, and specifically running, has also been shown to mitigate the effect of chronic stress on your cognitive function.

According to a study conducted at Brigham Young University, mice who ran on average 5km daily for four weeks showed a stabilising and strengthening of the connections between neurons in the brain. While chronic stress is known to have a negative impact on the hippocampus, the area in the brain responsible for learning and memory, the study found that regular running can neutralise this damage and keep the connections strong and stable. That means that your run isn’t just improving your strength, muscle tone and general health but is protecting your brain’s learning and memory mechanisms too.

Of course, stress is impossible to eradicate completely but running every day, preferably 5km, can go some way to preventing stress from overwhelming you and your brain. If 5km is unrealistic, half that at a steady pace is enough to get blood flowing to the brain, which is crucial for supplying it with the essential oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly.

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