Running is one of the most common physical activities for weight loss 鈥 and it makes sense why. It鈥檚 excessively convenient, and you really only need a pair of sneakers to do it. However, if you鈥檝e ever taken off on a jog, motivation at your back, only to feel like stopping just a few yards into your workout, you know how tough it can be. It鈥檚 true: Running isn鈥檛 always easy, and it can be frustrating. But it鈥檚 worth it to stick it out for more than just the potential weight loss benefits.

鈥淩unning is so much more than just losing weight,鈥 says Aaptiv trainer Ackeem Emmons. 鈥淚t鈥檚 about uplifting you physically, mentally, and emotionally. A couple steps a day can go a very long way.鈥 He鈥檚 right: The benefits run deep. We asked Emmons and other Aaptiv trainers to share why running is more than just a physical workout.

woman running

Stress Relief

Running is an effective antidote to the taxing nature of an endlessly trying news cycle and the stress that builds with busy daily schedules. 鈥淲hen you run, you force your body to exert excess energy and hormones, resulting in stress relief,鈥 Emmons says. 鈥淎fter an extremely long week, there鈥檚 nothing like a good long run to reflect, release, and rejuvenate.鈥

Taking time to run can also help create mental space to think about certain tasks or obligations that need our attention. Without the distractions of anything besides the workout, we can get into a productive headspace. 鈥Sometimes I go on runs to work,鈥 says Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs. 鈥淒uring my run, I think of things I want to do, cues I want to try in my recordings, and problems I want to solve. Then I use the endorphins to put it all into action post-run.鈥

Runner鈥檚 High

Speaking of endorphins, running triggers our body to release a flood of them. 鈥淩unning contributes to an increase in endorphins, but also levels of serotonin and norepinephrine,鈥 says Aaptiv trainer Candice Cunningham. These chemicals play a critical role in mood regulation and have been linked to fighting feelings of anxiety and depression.

鈥淭he endorphins have a direct impact on your overall mood and state of mind,鈥 says Takacs. 鈥淔or me, running is moving meditation and, the older I get, the more I realize I鈥檓 running for the mental health benefits, not the physical.鈥

Mental Toughness and Discipline

Running, as we know, has its challenges. Depending on the day, your mood, or the weather, it can take a lot of effort to tackle those miles. But that difficulty fosters something more powerful. 鈥淩unning is a sport that requires focus and a good mentality,鈥 Cunningham says. 鈥淚t can get mundane, but pushing through those barriers builds running capacity and a healthier mindset. If you can push through uncomfortable moments during your run, you鈥檒l build that mental toughness to push through challenging moments at work and in your relationships.鈥

To build that toughness, though, you need to be disciplined. 鈥淩unners need to schedule runs and workouts in order to progress,鈥 Cunningham says. 鈥淭hat means running when you don鈥檛 want to or think you have better things to do.鈥 That discipline results in a feeling of independence that translates to real life too.

鈥淩unning makes you tenacious and independent,鈥 Takacs adds. 鈥淚t makes you confident in your abilities to handle more difficult tasks in normal life. That self-reliance is critical if you鈥檙e an entrepreneur or want to create your own success in general.鈥

Confidence

Discipline and mental toughness can help you repeatedly make strides in your running progress, which then breeds confidence. 鈥淩unning is a major confidence boost,鈥 Emmons says. 鈥淗itting your goal 鈥 be it a specific distance or length of time 鈥 says a lot about you and it makes you feel happy. That attitude correlates to other aspects of your life. You become more self-motivated to achieve more goals outside of running.鈥

That motivation you get from accomplishing your running goals, big or small, can contribute to a cycle of success. One block quickly becomes one mile, which can eventually become a marathon. It may sound cheesy, but it really all starts with a single step.

What is your favorite benefit of running? Share it with us @Aaptiv and @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)