Depression is Real and Here’s How Running Can Help
Depression isn’t easily identified by everyone; and that makes it a complicated sickness. Most people don’t understand that it’s a serious ailment and those with depression isn’t just “having a bad day” or can just, as they would say, “don’t think about it and be happy”.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the chemicals in the brain of those suffering from depression become imbalanced causing heightened emotions, loss of appetite or will to move, and many more. These may seem like common feelings for some, but depression can actually be proven by checking if the person’s Hippocampus (a part of the brain associated mainly with storing memories and regulating emotions) is smaller than usual.
That being said, it is always recommended to consult a doctor and get the right medication. But besides the medication, there are also some activities that one can do to help battle depression… like running.
If you’re a runner and you know someone who is depressed, we’ll give you 5 reasons on how running can help a person with depression. Check them out:
1. Running Increases Endorphins
Have you ever heard of “Running High”? That’s a term athletes use when they get “addicted” to running and feel immense joy when doing so. It’s because of the increase of Endorphins in the body, which taps a receptor in our brain that reduces pain and increasing a positive feeling in our system.
2. Running Strengthens Bond
A person diagnosed with depression may seem like he/she is happy on the outside, but, in truth, one of its symptoms is the unavoidable feeling of being alone. Friends and families play a big part in someone’s life, especially if that person doesn’t have the will to do things alone and just want to lock themselves in their room.
So do your best to invite them to run with you; talk to them, maybe treat them somewhere after, or basically anything that would make them feel they are not alone.
3. Running Gives a Person a New Goal
Believing that life is pointless and nothing is worth doing are likely what’s on the mind of a depressed person — no interest in anything or whatsoever. Running it might give them something to look forward to and a new goal to achieve, perhaps encourage them to run a marathon.
I mean, who doesn’t want something to hold on to in the future, right? Otherwise, the future would look irrelevant.
4. Running makes you Feel Good and Look Good
Aside from the Endorphin, running can make you feel good about yourself. When you start to lose weight; it makes you look more fit, more glowing (as sweating excretes toxins, which make our skin look nicer), and healthier inside and out since our blood circulation increases and immune system improves.
I’ve been at a point where I’ve been depressed and started to binge-eat junk food. It made me look fat and unkept that I started to hate myself even more. But since I started to exercise again, it made me feel better about myself. It’s not really about being vain, but, instead, feeling good about your own body. So, when you see your depressed friend that he/she is making even just the tiniest progress, compliment them. Telling them that they’re starting to look better will make all the difference.
5. Running Allows a Person to be Connected with the World
When you’re locked up in your own room, you don’t have much contact with the world. You’ll feel alone and unloved. Even if you go to the social media to “connect” with people, the internet can be pretty toxic.
Understand that if you bring along your friend to run with you, it can allow them to see the world in a new perspective and make them feel that they belong. Going outside can let you see things that you won’t find in the four corners of your room. You might see parents playing with their child at the park and see how happy they are—it might inspire you to push forward and have a simple and loving family like that one day. We can find inspiration in all sorts of places; it might be hard for them to move, but it can definitely help.
Those are just some of the many reasons why running can help a person battle depression. Again, exercising can help, but it can never replace the medication prescribed by doctors. If you know someone who’s depressed, even something as simple as taking them with you as you run can help; and if you’re reading this and you’re the one who has depression, remember that you matter. Life may seem pointless, but life is too broad to give up finding what can make you happy—maybe it can be running!
Pinoy Fitness has a Facebook group for like-minded people with the goal of achieving a healthier lifestyle. You can post just about anything and even look for people to run with you. Join our group! We would love to have you there!