Running can improve our self-esteem: appreciation of ourselves, directly or indirectly. Body composition plays an important role in our self-esteem, and running is related to body composition. In addition, there are many other factors that we are going to develop, where running also increases that self-esteem.
Running helps us to improve our body composition
Running several days a week helps us to expend calories. If our primary or secondary goal is to lose fat, this energy expenditure will help us in the process, since to lose fat we need to create a caloric deficit, with the number of calories expended during the day being greater than the number of calories we ingest through diet.
The more energy we expend during the day, the more food we can eat and the more room we have for weight loss to occur without hunger or associated problems: binge eating due to anxiety; giving up for not getting results; deprivation of social gatherings to avoid skipping the diet….
Running can even increase muscle mass in the legs in beginner runners. This is due to the fact that, being novices, the stimulus of running is sufficient to produce the first adaptations and generate this increase in muscle mass. This benefit is lost with the passage of time where we will need to increase the loads, and for this we need strength training.
This aesthetic improvement is where most of the population begins to increase the appreciation of oneself. However, it is far from the only one. There are several mechanisms and aspects that also help us in this process, and make us evaluate ourselves more positively.
In running there are start lines and finish lines.
People with low self-esteem have low self-confidence, and do not see themselves as capable of achieving objectives or goals. Every day that we go out to run we have a goal that can be to complete a certain distance, without more, or also add a time in which to complete it.
Being aware of our possibilities, the establishment of small daily goals will convince ourselves of our ability to achieve objectives. Achieving those goals every day or every week makes us feel that we are valid.
This sense of accomplishment can be extrapolated to other areas of life, which has an impact on modifying low self-esteem into high self-esteem, increasing inner security and self-confidence. As we expand our goals and achieve results, our self-esteem will also expand.
Self-efficacy is responsible for this. Achieving a small goal will make us confident that we can achieve a small, somewhat larger goal. That circle feeds back and thus grows our self-efficacy: believing that we are capable of achieving specific tasks.
The connection between self-esteem, mental health and running
Improved body composition and a sense of accomplishment are two direct and external situations that improve self-esteem through running. Before reaching these goals, it could be said that during “the run” or the process, neurological mechanisms occur that also help.
Running can improve our self-concept. Of vital importance is the improvement of self-concept in adolescents, since it is there where the opinion or judgment we have about ourselves begins to be forged.
Self-concept and self-esteem are related terms but they do not mean the same thing. Self-concept is the judgment we make about our body or our abilities. Self-esteem is the valuation or appreciation we give to that self-concept. A person may see him/herself as overweight or clumsy (self-concept), but not give it too much importance (self-esteem).
There are therefore other indirect or internal situations that are where self-esteem begins, and that must be controlled to avoid serious mental health problems arising from self-esteem. Running can deal with these mental aspects such as anxiety, stress and mood.
Anxiety, depression, stress, mood and low self-esteem can be connected to each other.
Scientific evidence shows an increasingly close relationship between physical activity and depression. It is explained by different neurophysiological mechanisms by which hormones and cascades of processes that make us feel good and relieve anxiety are released.
Without going into complex physiological processes, you have probably heard that endorphins are the natural drug of happiness, and that they are released by running. That pleasurable feeling helps us enormously to improve our mood and everything else, directly connected to self-esteem.
You’re never walk alone
Apathy due to low self-esteem can make us withdraw into ourselves and not want to relate to other people. If you are a soccer lover you will have heard on more than one occasion the You’re nevel walk alone when Liverpool takes the field.
It is the hymn sung by all the fans telling their team to keep walking without stopping, because they will never walk alone in the storm. In every corner there are groups of runners who meet up to train, and with a high probability they will have to rehydrate afterwards.
Running offers us the option of joining a community of hundreds of millions of people who go running. Our self-esteem will benefit enormously from this as we see how we connect with other people and escape each day for a good time.
In those moments when we run, either alone or with others, we occupy our minds with positive thoughts and experiences, instead of repeating negative messages to ourselves while we are bored on the couch.