Long-distance running shaped human evolution. Some researchers argue that endurance running evolved due to improved walking abilities, while others say that we developed to run long distances. It’s why we have strong knee joints and, most likely, prominent buttocks.
The human connection to endurance running questions the modern habit of jogging instead of running a marathon. However, a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that doing a little bit of both may have a biological advantage. According to the survey, just 10 minutes of moderate-intensity running can improve mood and mental skills such as memory, flexibility, and self-control.
Researchers believe that ten minutes of exercise is required to reap both emotional and cognitive benefits. Running has a positive impact on mental health because it is a simple exercise that requires little equipment and sport structure.
What happens to the brain when you run?
An experiment was done with 26 young adults who have no history of neurological or psychiatric disorders. They were randomly assigned to complete a 10-minute run and a control rest session.
Following the run and control sessions, they completed the Two-Dimensional Mood Scale test and a Stroop task to assess their executive function. During this task, contradictory information is displayed together.
After the 10-minute run, all participants’ moods improved, and they performed better on the Stroop task. Running also altered their blood flow in the brain: scans revealed increased blood flow in the brain area that controls our mood and executive function. The result also showed activation of specific genetic markers linked to mood.
These findings point to the evolutionary origins of running.
Running involves whole-body movement, which stimulates the brain and body differently compared to other forms of exercise.
So, if you can run, at least run for 10 minutes.