Stress management. Running can control stress and boost the body's ability to deal with existing mental tension. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate the brain's response to stress.
Vitamin D. Taking your run outside on a sunny day helps your body produce vitamin D, a nutrient that can lessen your likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Prevention of cognitive decline. While running doesn't "cure" Alzheimer's, it may help boost the brain's ability to minimize and slow cognitive decline that begins after age 45. Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevents degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
A calmer state of mind. The chemicals released during and after running can help people experiencing anxiety feel calmer. Whether you're hopping on a treadmill, track, trail or sidewalk, getting your body moving is a healthy way of coping with tough times.
Brainpower boost. Cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance. A tough run increases levels of a brain-derived protein in the body, believed to help with decision-making, higher thinking and learning.
Improved sleep. For some, a moderate run can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body's core temperature. When the body temp drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals the body that it's time to sleep.
Increased productivity. Feeling unmotivated? The solution might be just a short run away. Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than peers who are less active.
Greater creativity. A heart-pumping run can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Rather than staring at the blank page waiting for an exceptional idea to fall from the sky, get those legs moving and refresh your body and brain at the same time.