Have you ever felt that incredible rush of happiness and contentment after a good run? Well, regular runners will tell you that running doesn’t just make them healthier, but it also improves their overall well-being and brings them pure joy. 

It’s not just about the physical benefits, even a gentle jog can do wonders for your stress levels, boost your mood, and increase your focus. 

Running has been found to release endorphins in the body, which are natural chemicals that can produce a positive feeling. This is commonly referred to as the “runner’s high” and can result in feelings of euphoria and happiness during and after a run. 

Surprised that running can actually make you happier? Well, here are legitimate reasons that prove the above statement to be true.

Why Does Running Make You Feel So Good?

There are several factors that contribute to the positive effects of running on mental health. First and foremost, running releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters. This “runner’s high” can lead to feelings of euphoria and happiness during and after a run.

In addition to endorphins, running has been shown to increase levels of other feel-good neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals play a role in regulating mood, and their increase can lead to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety and an improved overall sense of well-being.

Another factor is the sense of accomplishment that comes with running. Setting and achieving goals, whether it’s running a certain distance or improving your time, can boost self-esteem and confidence, leading to increased happiness and motivation.

While getting a “runner’s high” is one of the best ways to feel content and at ease, engaging in vigorous exercises, such as running, has many benefits for one’s mental state. These benefits include:

  • Stress management 
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Vitamin D
  • Prevention of cognitive decline
  • A calmer state of mind
  • Brainpower boost
  • Help with sleep
  • Greater creativity
  • Increased productivity
  • Provides a sense of community

Stress Management

Engaging in running can aid in managing stress and enhance the body’s capacity to cope with mental strain. Furthermore, physical activity boosts the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the brain’s reaction to stress.

Boosts Self-Esteem

Regular running can improve your confidence and self-esteem. Achieving running goals, such as running a certain distance or time, can give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-confidence.

Improves Cognitive Function

Running has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making. It can also help to reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays many roles in the body, including promoting a healthy immune system, aiding in calcium absorption, and supporting bone health. 

Exposure to sunlight is one of the best ways to increase your body’s production of vitamin D, and running outdoors on a clear day can be a great way to achieve this. 

Additionally, research has shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of developing depression, so maintaining adequate levels of this nutrient may also help to reduce the risk of developing symptoms of depression. 

Other potential benefits of vitamin D include improved muscle function, reduced fatigue, and increased production of red blood cells.

Brainpower Boost

Engaging in vigorous exercise can promote the growth of new brain cells and enhance cognitive performance. 

Following a challenging run, levels of a brain-derived protein in the body increase, which is thought to aid in decision-making, higher-order thinking, and learning.

Calmer State of Mind

Running can be an effective way to combat anxiety, as the chemicals that are released during and after running can induce a calming effect. 

Regardless of the running surface you choose, whether it’s a treadmill, track, trail, or sidewalk, getting your body moving is a healthy coping mechanism during difficult times

Help with Sleep

Running not only has physical benefits but can also improve your sleep. 

For certain individuals, engaging in a moderate run can have a similar effect as taking a sleeping pill, even for those who struggle with insomnia

Running approximately five to six hours prior to bedtime causes a rise in the body’s core temperature, which can help regulate sleep patterns.

Additionally, running can also stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep.

Greater Creativity

Engaging in a heart-pumping run can enhance creativity for up to two hours after the workout. 

Instead of waiting for a stroke of genius while staring at a blank page, why not get those legs moving and simultaneously rejuvenate your body and mind?

Increased Productivity

If you’re feeling unmotivated, a quick run might be the solution. 

According to research, regular exercise can increase productivity and energy levels in workers compared to those who are less active. 

Although busy schedules can make it difficult to fit in a gym session, some experts recommend midday workouts due to the body’s circadian rhythms.

Provides a Sense of Community

Joining a running group or club can provide a sense of community and support, which can be beneficial for mental health. Running with others can also be motivating and make the activity more enjoyable.

While there are many benefits to running for mental health, it’s important to remember that there may also be physical gains.

Does Running Give You a Healthy Body?

Consistent running can result in various physical benefits, such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular health, 
  • Increased endurance, 
  • Weight loss,
  • Improved muscle tone and definition

Nevertheless, it is essential to recognize that the advantages of running extend beyond physical health. Placing too much emphasis on physical appearance can have negative implications for mental health, and it is crucial to prioritize overall mental well-being as well.

5 Tips to Stay Motivated and Enjoy Your Running Experience

Start small: If you’re new to running, don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to run a marathon right away. Begin with shorter distances and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time.

Set achievable goals: Establishing and achieving running goals can increase your self-esteem and confidence, leading to enhanced happiness and motivation.

Make it enjoyable: Discover ways to make your running experience fun and enjoyable, such as by listening to your favorite music or podcast, running with a friend or group, or exploring new routes and trails.

Establish a routine: Adding running to your daily or weekly routine can help you develop a habit and decrease the likelihood of missing workouts.

Seek support: Joining a running club or finding a running partner can offer encouragement and companionship, transforming running into a more social and gratifying activity.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

Comments are closed.