Impact of running on mental health

Austė Janušauskaitė1, Alma Kajėnienė2

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

2Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Sports Medicine. 


Background. The increase in the scale of mental disorders encourages the search for additional methods of treatment and improvement of quality of life. As physical activity has been shown to improve emotional health, running can be applied as one of them. However, there are also negative effects of physical activity.

The aim: to elucidate the positive and negative effects of running as one of the most popular physical activities on mental health, daily functioning and quality of life, which is described in the literature.

Methods: it is a literature review. The articles were selected from the electronic database PubMed with keywords ,,physical activity and mental health” and ,,running impact on mental health”. During the writing of the article, scientific articles from 2005 to 2021 were selected for publication.

Results. More than 3,000 articles covering the links between physical activity and mental health have been found, of which 132 had examined the effects of running impact on mental health. The research was performed on published scientific literature between 2005 and 2021 and 23 revealing the topic publications were selected.

Conclusions. Although regular physical activity causes positive changes in mood, reduces depressive symptoms, the influence of training on the development of eating disorders has also been observed. Thus, although physical activity can often be compared to psychotherapy, it is necessary to take into account the harmful effects of physical activity on mental health if it is too frequent or too intense.

Keywords: physical activity, running, mental health.