Running, like other forms of aerobic exercise, has been proven to relieve stress. We all know the story — exercise produces endorphins, which are “natural painkillers,” which in turn helps lower your stress levels.
In this study of 40 men and 40 women, all participants completed a questionnaire about their current emotional state and then were divided into two groups. One group went on a 30 minute jog while the other group did 30 minutes of stretching. They all were then shown a clip from The Champ that was meant to make them sad and completed another emotional state questionnaire.
The result? Even though running didn’t keep people from being sad, it allowed people to recover from sadness better. Those who ran “reported less sadness than those who did not [do aerobic] exercise.”
The point? You don’t need to run a significant amount to be happier — no need to run a half marathon (though if you want to, more props to you). Just go for a quick jog to clear your head, and you’ll feel much better.
So instead of reaching for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s the next you feel sad, lace up your sneakers and go for a run instead.
Interested in reading the full study? Check it out here.