Yet another reason we love to pound the pavement

By Rachel Jacoby Zoldan
Updated: April 11, 2016
Corbis Images

We don't need to list out all the reasons running is good for your body, do we? But new research confirms our belief that running is good for our minds too. Published in the journal Cognition and Emotion, this new study demonstrates the positive impact of acute aerobic exercise on individuals experiencing emotion regulation difficulties, bolstering the already-assumed idea that running is indeed good for your soul. (Speaking of, have you signed up for our 30-Day #RunIntoShape Challenge yet?)

Researchers Emily E. Bernstein and Richard J. McNally tested how a short period of moderate exercise changed the emotional effects of subsequent exposure to an upsetting film clip from The Champ, hypothesizing that all subjects would feel some emotional distress from watching. (If I were the researchers, I'd go for like Green Mile or something, but hey, that's just me.) After watching the distressing video, the 80 participants-half of whom were female-were either assigned to jogging (an aerobic form of exercise) or stretching (a non-aerobic activity). All 80 of them completed questionnaires about their emotional state before and after their respective workouts.

Just as the study authors expected, participants who had completed 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise reported feeling less sadness by the end of the study, in comparison to individuals who had not exercised. Likewise, those who expressed a state of emotional despair (specifically citing that there was "nothing [they] could do to make themselves feel better") did in fact feel better after a 30-minute jog.

Point being? Exercising at least at a moderate intensity can help alleviate depressive or sad feelings, and furthermore, can help you regulate your emotions better after that run. Good enough reason for me to lace up, that's for sure. (Good news: You Don't Have to Run Very Far to Reap the Benefits of Running.)


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