Run Happy, Run Smart!

I just knew I was on to something when I declared that the practice of
ought to be packaged and marketed as a glorious idea producing machine!

According to an article on Medical Xpress, a study was just completed by the Psychology and Biology Departments at the University of Jyväskylä which reported,  

“It may be possible to increase the neuron reserve of the hippocampus – and thus improve preconditions for learning – by promoting neurogenesis via sustained aerobic exercise such as running.

Aerobic exercise, such as running, has positive effects on brain structure and function, for example, the generation of neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus, a brain structure important in learning.”

The article goes on to detail how the results of the study were collected and to explain that the findings are significant because,

“…according to previous research, the new hippocampal neurons produced as a result of neurogenesis are needed among other things for learning temporally and/or spatially complex tasks. It is possible that by promoting neurogenesis via sustained aerobic exercise, the neuron reserve of the hippocampus can be increased and thus also the preconditions for learning improved.” 

So basically, they are saying that running could potentially tackle the lion’s share of helping humans learn stuff.  Cool huh? 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I know that running has historically been brutal to my corporeal person, but the physical act itself is just so blissful and, apparently, intellectually helpful.  

Running never fails to improve my mood and it ALWAYS gives me a plethora of writing ideas.  The only clouds above my head while running are that of the BRAINSTORMING variety; No sad clouds allowed! 

So while running may not be what’s best for making my figure the leanest, fittest, fighting shape, it makes me feel happier and it gives me a big smart head.  Literally.


Do you feel smarter when you run? 




4 thoughts on “Run Happy, Run Smart!

  1. I don’t run. However, I walk and it’s the best therapy in the world for me both physically & mentally. I’ve figured out how to work through so many day to day situations and potential or existing issues just by walking or hiking the trails. I like to think of it as ” not working harder…just smarter. ”

    I think any exercise makes our brains healthier and thus, smarter. I can’t think well unless I’m moving. I even walk around the house when I’m on the phone because my mind works better in motion.

    So I agree with you Kristen…so much creativity comes out of motion. My best ideas are born from it!

    • Hey Sherrie,

      Walking is great! Hiking too. I’ve started subbing out a lot of runs with walking to try to avoid injury. Also, I think that walking actually might be more beneficial in regard to not stirring up cortisol levels (and working against us health wise in the long run).

      Also, I am the same way on the phone. I cannot have a phone conversation without pacing all over the place. 🙂

  2. I recently read a great article about what runners think about while running. It is a lot of time alone with your mind. I think it was in The New Yorker. Not a new article. One of those that gets linked on a Facebook post when someone posts about running. I keep wanting to take it up, but I don’t know, do I really want to become a “runner”? All my friends who run are constantly nursing some injury or other. Ankles, knees, toes, heels, shins. One friend of a friend was even recently hit by a distracted motorist. Even as a cyclist (indoor), Orange Theory woman, yoga practitioner, and cardio fit class attender, I constantly feel like I’m not a “real” athlete because I don’t run. I “run” on the elliptical. But that’s more like floating.

    • HAHA, Ima, that is crazy! You are a bad-A athlete whether you run or not. You are incredibly active. But I get it- there is a stigma. Also, I have never achieved the same “runner’s high” while doing other physical activities.

      I never know what to say what I am doing when I use the elliptical machine. *Ellipticalling* sounds stupid. Floating! I guess it’s kind of like floating/riding? It sounds like no work is being accomplished, when it can actually give you a decent cardio workout!

      I was once clipped on the arm/elbow by a minivan’s side view mirror, but was only bruised. I hope your friend is ok. What is Orange Theory, though?

      And yes, runner’s are perpetually injured. Perpetually. Love/Hate.

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