Originally published by PNB Metlife at HealthForHappiness.in

Life throws many obstacles your way – both mental and physical. While there are plenty of different solutions for each, running is the magic bullet. From being a shot in the arm for your professional life, to helping you organize your daily routine, to making yourself a more formidable decision maker – running can help you in ways you might not have thought about. And that’s not even counting your improved fitness. The benefits from running will trickle down to your daily life with ease.

Maybe your child isn’t doing well at school or your work has been adding a lot of pressure on your personal life. Or perhaps it’s the way around, and you are having problems at home that seem unresolvable. Whatever the reason, when you have a bad day or week, a run should be your first instinct. Research has shown that a short run such as a 3K or a 5K helps keep a balance of neurons in your brain that help you deal with anger, anxiety, or grief in a definite way. But beware, overtraining is a common problem among runners who experience stress and negative emotions, so keep calm while you run to get the best stress-buster.

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Improved learning capacity
Besides helping you get over stressors, research has established that running helps overcome typical barriers that one sees when aging. This includes decline in your thinking capacity, deterioration of memory, or even multi-tasking, which gets difficult as you age. Running makes you smarter by allowing you to use the brain cells which you might not utilize always. Exercises such as running helps you retain information better in the long run.

Manage better
If you are at an executive or manager position at work, running makes dealing with day-to-day tasks much easier. It has a buffering effect on stress, makes decision-making easier, and boosts your productivity, but you also benefit from the ‘me-time’ you get from running, helping you organize your day, tackle hard problems and go on solo brainstorming sessions. It’s no wonder that some of the world’s greatest CEOs are runners.

Build determination
Ever feel you give up easily and don’t have adequate willpower? This won’t change immediately by taking up running, but running regularly will imbibe a process of overcoming mental obstacles. In short, it makes you move past the voice in your head that says you cannot do it. This evolves step-by-step, over time, as you graduate from a jog to a daily tempo run or interval runs. As you start pushing these limits, you expand your capacity and develop greater willpower.

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Sleep better
A tired body often sleeps well. But quite often our tiredness is due to mental fatigue, which is terrible for sleeping well. Running regularly delivers that definite ‘knockout punch’ that will help sleep quality and length. Sleep is crucial to avoid lethargy and ‘fake’ fatigue in the day, which in turn boosts productivity. People who have had great sleep often start their day well and feel energetic through the day.

It’s clear that running impacts your daily life in a positive way, its benefits extending beyond physical fitness. However, these advantages will not be apparent to you unless you start running on a regular basis, and in a consistent manner. One way to do that is to pick a 5K or 10K as a target and work your way towards meeting it. Once you start hitting your stride regularly, the fringe benefits of running will become crystal clear to you.

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