The Mind-Clearing Magic of Running

Having a head full of thoughts? Gain insight into the magic behind the mind-clearing wonders of running!

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Most people run to keep their bodies fit yet running is often accompanied by a lesser-known benefit of clearing one’s mind. This can happen in many ways. Think back to the last time you finished a run, and this should feel familiar: a head full of thoughts is emptied, negative emotions, such as anger or sadness, are expelled, and a certain clarity is achieved in the mind. What triggers this magic, and what is the science behind it? 

What Triggers the Magic

Before we delve deeper, it would first be interesting to know just what triggers the mind-clearing effect that all of us would undoubtedly like to have!

What is the first step to getting started? Putting on your shoes and running, of course! In fact, any aerobic exercise ought to do the trick. How long do you need to run to start enjoying the benefits? The answer is about 30 to 40 minutes, or about when you start to work out a sweat. From then on, the magic happens!

What Science Says

Now we come to the interesting bit. According to this Huffington Post article, which features views from associations such as the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, running for about 30 to 40 minutes will actually help you to produce neurones, also known as brain cells that improve your learning abilities and memory!

The same article also notes observations that there is increased blood flow to this brain’s frontal lobe after exercise, the same part of our brain that is associated with thinking clearly, forward-looking planning and focus.

In addition, scientists have found that running causes the body to produce endorphins and endocannabinoids. Endorphins are like nature's opiates (like morphine) and endocannabinoids are a naturally synthesised form of the same chemical that makes one high when using marijuana (we're not condoning such behaviour, FYI). Together, these chemicals produced by the body creates what is known at a runner's high! Simply put, we can literally get doped up by going for a run.

Furthermore, a study found that “acute aerobic exercise helps overcome emotion regulation deficits”, meaning that the process of exercising aids in bringing your emotional state back to a neutral or positive level.

As we can see, running has been proven by science to have these awesome brain-altering and emotion-clearing effects that we had described earlier. 

"Simply put, we can literally get doped up by going for a run."


All in all, it really comes down to the fact that we all know already from personal experience that running can have profound effects on our state of mind, including the classic “runner’s high” relished after a good run.

Still, it’s good to know that science is on the same page too. So the next time you wish to clear your mind of something, make a critical decision or just achieve that zen state of mind, simply go for a run!


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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