March 20 2018
It’s never too late—or too early—to become a runner.
Ever notice how during or immediately following a run you can solve a problem that seemed impossible before you headed out? You might have even started running in order to stop thinking about something and unexpectedly found a solution along the way. Perhaps you found forgiveness or a heightened awareness that wasn’t there when you started. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, there is a scientific reason (and some not-so-scientific ones) for why this “magic” happens while running.
Blood pressure and blood flow increase during exercise, both of which send more energy and oxygen to our muscles and organs. This process allows your brain to function at a higher level as it receives more energy and oxygen in turn.
According to an article by The Scientific American,
“…working up a sweat enhances our mental capacity [because the] hippocampus, a part of the brain critical for learning and memory, is highly active during exercise. When the neurons in this structure rev up, research shows that our cognitive function improves. For instance, studies in mice have revealed that running enhances spatial learning. Other recent work indicates that aerobic exercise can actually reverse hippocampal shrinkage, which occurs naturally with age, and consequently boost memory in older adults. Yet another study found that students who exercise perform better on tests than their less athletic peers.”
Running outside or even on a treadmill allows you to focus on several things you might not be able to concentrate on while sitting at a desk or being otherwise occupied by children, screens or other forms of social interaction. While running, you typically focus on:
Obviously there are things you can do to get the most out of your run. If you’re looking to solve a problem, mull over a personal issue or just clear your head, follow these tips:
Whatever your reason is for running, you may return with a head full of possibilities, ideas and solutions.