To Your Health
June, 2012 (Vol. 06, Issue 06)
Get the Runner's High
Every time you think of putting on your running shoes, you should think about the great benefits you can reap. One of them involves a better mood and a better brain. A recent study showed that you can gain both cognitive and mood benefits from going out for a jog or a run.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise can increase levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF, which is thought to play a role in the positive effects of exercise on thinking.
A recent study published last month in Neuroscience showed that researchers in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., recruited 54 adults, ages 18 to 36, from the college and the surrounding community. The volunteers were healthy but generally sedentary; none exercised regularly.
The volunteers were randomly assigned to exercise or not during the next four weeks. Half began a supervised program of walking or jogging four times a week for at least 30 minutes. The other half remained sedentary after completing a series of memory and mood tests were performed.
The study confirmed that the volunteers who'd been exercising for the past month significantly improved their scores on the memory and mood tests. They also tended to report less anxiety than other volunteers. Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning, according to the study.
Like many other studies in the past have shown, the "runner's high" is real. All it takes is some motivation to get moving, so put on your running shoes and look forward to a better mood and a better state of mind with a clearer outlook.