Category Archives: Running and Depression

The Science Behind How Running Can Make You Smarter, Happier, and Get You Off Medications

I have recently turned 44 years old and have received an inspiring and informative book as a birthday present entitled Spark by John J. Ratey, MD from which I will quote frequently for this blog. I started to run at 42 and I can honestly say that my running turned me into a smarter, more focused, more tolerant, more emphatic, more resilient, and definitely more punctual person.

 

Picture from one of my first 2-mile runs in March, 2015.

 

The same year I started to run in 2015, I also completed my first marathon, California International Marathon in 4:13.

 

At the time, I was only concerned about my cardio workout and getting stronger in tennis, a game I have played for more than 22 years. Unlike other runners who got into running to lose weight, beat depression, control their ADHD disorders, or to deal with the loss of a loved one, my story is quite ordinary. I wanted to balance my exercise regimen and increase my fitness level to be a better and stronger tennis player. Tennis was love for me and it will always give me joy. I even published a book entitled Change Your Grip on Life Through Tennis, which you can purchase by clicking on the link.

At one of my book signings.

 

KEY POINTS FROM SPARK:

  1. In October of 2000 researchers from Duke University made the New York Times with a study showing that exercise is better than Zoloft at treating depression.
  2. Serotonin is called the policeman of the brain, because it helps keep brain activity under control. It influences mood, impulsivity, anger, and aggressiveness.
  3. Dr. Ratey states that “going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin, because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. Therefore, with this new power to change your brain, all you have to do is lace up your shoes.”
  4. Regular aerobic activity, such as jogging, running, rowing, swimming, biking, tennis calms the body. Moreover, Dr. Ratey points out, that exercising is predictable and controllable, which gives a sense of self-confidence.
  5. Exercise also boosts dopamine, which improves mood and feelings of wellness and jump-starts the attention system.
  6. Although walking is good, jogging or running is better if your body can handle it. Getting the heart rate up for twenty or thirty minutes is key.
  7. Exercise helps rewire our brains. Moreover, when exercising with others the key is on the social connection to others.
  8. Having depression increases the risk for dementia, so why not prevent that by taking a brisk walk, doing a Zumba class, running, etc.?
  9. Challenges and learning new things are important, because they boost our resilience.
  10. Exercising puts you in control of your mood, your day, so go ahead and use it as much as you want without any side effects other than well-being, calmness, joy, and satisfaction after a job well-done.

To sum things up, exercise is the ultimate drug that works wonders and has no side effects, other than a general feeling of joy.

For more info on running and real estate, whether buying or selling, please e-mail me at carmenmicsa@yahoo.com, or call me at 916-342-2446. Running for real estate with joy!