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Mental Benefits of Sport


Posted by Cags R under Running on 30 July 2012 at 11:00 PM

Asics Europe have recently performed a study on the reasons people start running and why they then continue with it. 

The original drive to begin running is generally physical - 'I want to lose weight' or 'I want to improve my fitness'. Most of us can probably relate to this goal as a reason to start exercising more frequently, but what is it that makes us continue exercising once we reach our weightloss or fitness goals?

In their survey, the Asics researchers found that the motivation to continue exercising is predominantly to do with the mental benefits that exercise produces; 'stress-relief', 'enjoyment' and 'mental rewards of reaching targets' are leading reasons for people to include regular exercise into their routine. This is also combined with the fact that exercise is addictive - all those awesome endorphines make you want to keep coming back to it.

Although weight loss is a huge motivator to start running, enjoyment and fitness are what keeps people running. The report also went into why people choose running as a fitness/weight loss option; it is easily accessible, there is minimal specialist equipment, it does not depend on proximity to facilities and it is cheap!

You can read more about it in Asics' report here and don't forget to leave your success stories in comments below! How do you feel running has helped your stress levels?

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    I am a person who seems to be prone to stress. I started running to improve my fitness but I feel like I have improved my mental wellbeing too. I have a stressful job I find difficult to take time away from, and when I do get time off I try to catch up with friends and family, so running is my 'me-time'. :)


    Although I am not now a runner, I still feel the rush after a good workout and walking or any exercise, especially out doors, is just as good at improving a low mood as running (being somewhere different, a change of scenery, giving your brain a rest from worries etc)

    Lucille W and Joanne H encouraged this.


    I agree with you there @kirstin200 - although I run occasionally I prefer to cycle, even if it's raining there's definitely a great feeling after a quick paced run or cycle which cheers me up. I do get mega-grumpy if I'm unhappy with my performance in sport though - my old hockey team called it my 'post-loss strop'!


    To my mind sport is essential to a balanced lifestyle. I have relied even more on running since I lost my job over a year ago but like Lucille W said it absolutely acts as an anchor for me. Although I do take days off I generally feel better when some form of excercise is part of my day!!

    encouraged this.


    I dont run, but I do exercise in other ways. I know that if I don't exercise regularly I get pretty ansty! I also know that if I have a bad day at work a decent round of curcuits does far more for my state of mind than anything else. And that includes chocolate! =D

    Joanne H and Paris F encouraged this.


    When I was in college, I took up Yoga as a means of mental relief after being diagnosed with a form of depression. I always maintain that was the main reason I had such a speedy recovery. Now, after being diagnosed with something similar, my running and my exercise is what has kept me sane (relatively at least) over the last year. Exercise is the one thing I could not live without, it's my 'drug' and what is fixing me :) Great article!

    encouraged this.


    nothing helps stress and depression better than a good run or workout. i try to get people to understand this on a daily basis. too many people taking antidepressants. this is one reason i cant wait to get my pt certification.

    Paris F encouraged this.


    Great survey, Since I've been on both sides of the fence on this one I totally agree with the results. After starting to run to get in shape and lose weight, I've found that I've fallen in love with it again and it's fun and rewarding.

    Lori W and Paris F encouraged this.


    As reported by experts from , since 1970 there have been hundreds of studies published on how Transcendental Meditation improves mental and physical functions. Many brain wave studies show how TM brings more coherence to brain functioning and that it produces a unique style of brain functioning. The studies show that, with regular meditation this growth improves. Recent studies correlate the experience of higher states of consciousness (which correlate to traditional descriptions of "enlightenment"...i.e., the experience of a transcendental, absolute, blissful state of awareness) with the changes in the coherence and style of functioning in brain waves of TM meditators. Look for videos on youtube by Dr. Fred Travis describing this research.

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