Benefits of running on mental health


Running has always been a helpful tool for me when dealing with mental health. I have never been diagnosed, however, I always feel whenever I am getting frustrated, anxious, or just in a sad mood a run will always cheer me up. It's a way to distract me from whatever I was dealing with before hand, and is a great way to clear my head. It's also something I feel achievement in, which is great when I think the world is collapsing around me at university haha. I have always been a runner, but never realised how helpful running was to me until my girlfriend pointed out that after a run I am always in a better mood, and then I noticed it. Whenever i'm grumpy she sends me on a run now haha. Thinking back now running has been super helpful to me over the years and has always been my go to activity to cheer me up.

The idea fascinates me, that such a simple tool like running can be so helpful. So I did some extensive reading online and found that loads of people had also benefited from running, and even on here people have spoken about the benefits running has. Even though I have always ran because I enjoyed it, I never associated it with improving my own mental health, and that was simply because I didn't know the extensive benefits running can have. This got me thinking, other people must not know about how great running is.

I am in my final year at university studying Media Production and I have to complete a graduate project. I have decided to look at the benefits running has on mental health. I am going around interviewing people on their experiences on how running was helpful in coping with their mental health. I want to share their stories in a visual medium by making short 2-4 minute videos and hopefully use these brilliant stories to inspire more people to get outside and run. A quote from someone I interviewed was "to be a runner you just have to run". I thought that was great.

I am looking for a few more inspiring stories to share, and if you would like to help raise awareness towards the benefits of running then please send me a message. I really think this is a great way to raise awareness and inspire more people to get outside and run.

Thanks for reading,


  • I definitely think running has a massive impact on mental health for a lot of people.

    I took up running around a year ago on a suggestion from my doctor after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few months before. I was sceptical and only went because I knew he would ask when I came back to see him in a few weeks. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with it and the way it made me feel.

    Like you, running clears my head and helps improve my mood. Sometimes the improvement is only temporary and only lasts for a little while, sometimes it helps for longer. Running has taught me to push on even when I don't want to and as cheesy as this sounds it has changed my life.

    Running has given me pride in myself which didn't exist before. I love when I beat my times or run further than I ever have before.
  • Yes, this is exactly why I run. I recently this weekend did my fastest 10k I have done in 2 years which felt great, such a sense of achievement. Thanks for commenting, and i'm really glad running is having such a positive impact on your life, its great!
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    This is a beautiful film on it that you may have seen already?

    Also take a look at books by writers such as William Pullen who is a psychotherapist who uses running as a setting for therapy:

    Footnotes is one of my favourites in how it addresses the wider question of running and what it means to us:

    Also, look into the Japanese practice of shinrinyoku or forest bathing which is immersion in a forest environment to address health and wellbeing.  There are many studies on the effect of this on depression and anxiety with significant results. Also, while these studies mostly have patients walking through forests, there are also studies that compare the effect on wellbeing of urban compared to rural settings.

    There are numerous charities now that use running as a tool to encourage people to get their lives back on track, eg homeless charities such as Back On My Feet in the US, and Heads Together in the UK, whose focus on the London Marathon last year illustrated the power of running in helping runners suffering from mental health challenges.

    Do share your film on here. I am sure many would love to see it.  Best of luck with your project, Adam!
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi all, I can also add some good news. Up to week seven of C25K! I did not think in would ever be able to do this and all the hard work, tears and stress have been worth it. I always knew running really helped me with my depression, this view has been completely reinforced. Adam if you would like any more information please PM me. 
  • I took up running last year when I was diagnosed with anxiety linked to my IBS and depression. I completed a couch to 5k programme and I just kept going. It gives me time to just switch off, not be a wife, a parent, just me running. I have never come back from a run feeling worse, it always makes me feel good. time to clear my head!
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