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Many runners say they run because it relaxes them or elevates their mood. But few know why running does this, or that exercise science is beginning to reveal ways to enhance running’s mental health benefits. They just go out and run.Science shows that running can mimic the effects of many common treatments for depression, and/or make success with a given treatment more likely-be it talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation and mindfulness, or anti-depressants. Running can also steer runners in the direction of a happier and more fulfilling way of life, encouraging social connections, a sense of purpose, healthy diet and sleep choices, decreased use of controlled substances, and more. Running can do all this, that is, but it’s not quite as simple as just going out for a run. Lifelong runner and veteran running journalist Scott Douglas shows that there are ways for runners to optimise the mood-boosting power of their sport. Douglas guides readers through the methods proven to maximise running’s mental health benefits, from proper pace and distances to choosing optimal surroundings and personal routines. Through a combination of reported science, anecdote, and expert advice, he recounts how running has helped him and others battle depression and anxiety, improve mental health, and more fully enjoy life.
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