Running has a lot of benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health, but did you know it can improve your relationships, too? Of course, we’ve known for a while that running makes you a better person (not that we’re biased or anything) and now we have the science to back that up. Keep reading to learn how going for a run can help you get along better with your significant other, parents, siblings and friends.
Exercise makes you happy
And happy people have happy relationships (generally speaking). When you exercise, particularly when you’re doing cardiovascular activity like running, your body releases hormones like endorphins and endocannabinoids, both of which improve your mood. Studies have shown that this effect can last for a long time after you’ve finished your run — even into the following day — and is associated with more positive social engagement.
Running helps you think more clearly
When you go out for a run, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in your body, including your brain. This provides your brain with more energy and oxygen and helps it to perform better, which allows you to think more clearly about the problems you may be facing. This benefit bleeds over into your relationships because it helps you deal with conflict more constructively.
Exercise increases arousal
There is some research to suggest that exercise can actually heighten sexual attraction. In fact, one study showed that after 15 minutes of activity, adults reported greater attraction to pictures of people of the opposite sex, compared with those who didn’t exercise. The moral of the story? If you’ve got your eye on someone, invite them out for a run.
Exercise boosts your self-confidence
People tend to gravitate toward those who exhibit more self-confidence, and regular exercise is correlated with higher self-esteem and self-confidence. Not to mention that having higher self-esteem will likely make you a happier person, which, as we already know, has a direct impact on the quality of your relationships.
Exercise with your partner to strengthen your relationship
If you have a significant other, exercising together may increase these benefits even further, and is a great way to improve the quality of your relationship. In a study of nearly 200 couples, researchers found that when the pairs exercised together, they reported more ‘positive marital events’ and higher ‘daily marital satisfaction.’
These benefits don’t stop at married couples. Exercising with anyone can increase the bond you have with that person — you can even feel more connected to a stranger when you exercise with them. This is yet another reason why taking your romantic interest out on a run may improve your chances with them… run date, anyone?
So if you’re looking to improve the quality of your relationship with your partner or anyone else, don’t skip your weekly mileage. Better yet, take that person out for a run to get them feeling the love, too.