Research is teasing out why running is so good for us, and for patients who can tolerate it

Research is teasing out why running is so good for us, and for patients who can tolerate it

The New York Magazine published  “How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running,” on 4-21-16. The article reviews research and theory about why running, and other forms of vigorous activity, can be so psychologically helpful.

The author notes, “About three decades of research in neuroscience have identified a robust link between aerobic exercise and subsequent cognitive clarity, and to many in this field the most exciting recent finding in this area is that of neurogenesis.”  And,Studies in animal models have shown that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan, and, so far, only one activity is known to trigger the birth of those new neurons: vigorous aerobic exercise, said Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology. “That’s it,” she said. “That’s the only trigger that we know about.”

The author also notes that running naturally promotes a “be here now” state of mind, a form of mindfulness, the “wonderful way your mind drifts here and there as the miles go by.”

mhconcierge’s take: It is helpful to have some research support for the benefits of running, and this may be passed on to mental health patients/clients seeking help with feeling and doing better without, or in addition to, medication and therapy.

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