When one considers the rise in health concerns along with the rise in depression, the question must be asked; Does running help cure depression? This is an especially important question for those who would rather take a natural, whole body approach to curing their depression. The value of running as a hobby cannot be overlooked, while the value of running to cure depression serves a dual purpose of helping to cure the depression itself as well as improving the general health of the individual from muscle development to cardiovascular improvements.
How exactly does running help cure depression? To begin with, the better shape the body is in physically, the better shape the mind will be in as a natural consequence of health improvement. This method is commonly known as getting "back to the basics". The premise is that the lack of proper nutrition and exercise can be the foundation for a pyramid effect that spreads throughout each facet of the individual. One very specific immediate way that running helps cure depression is known as the "runner's high". The runner's high is the euphoric feeling produced by the production and release of endorphins into the system. This process is initiated through exercise and stimulation. As the endorphins are released into the body, the individual will feel motivated to continue the movement in order to produce more of the chemical as the runner's high is experienced, enjoyed and even craved.
Aside from the obvious health benefits of running, there are a multitude of benefits that are directed toward the improvement of mental health. Those who are running to cure depression are commonly afflicted with low self esteem and sometimes even social phobias that may restrict their activities to ones that can be done alone or inside the home. Since running can actually be done inside the home with a treadmill or by running in place, running to cure depression seems an even more obvious choice. The more that running is used to cure depression, the more improved the self esteem will become as a side effect of the health benefits and the pride of meeting goals.
Individuals who chose to use running to cure depression should first consult with their physician to ensure that there are no risks or health restrictions involved for him or her personally. A general physical is a good place to start when developing goals for using running to cure depression since the physician can likely recommend a starting point in regards to length of time, pace and distance to begin the running program with. Goals should be set so that the runner can increase time and distance in accordance with their own comfort and health goals.