Is Smiling the Secret to Improved Running?

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Is Smiling the Secret to Improved Running?

smiling

Looking to improve your running? You might want to “fake it until you make it,” say researchers. A new study found that runners used 2.8 percent less energy when they made themselves smile.

Participants were asked to either smile (one that raises the corners of the mouth and cheeks to create crow’s feet around the eyes), frown, relax their hands and upper body, or hold their own usual running expression.

The theory is that pretending you’re enjoying your run by intentionally smiling will trick you into thinking you’re putting in less effort. And the easier it is to exercise, the more likely you’ll excel, according to researchers.

In fact, many top athletes, including Olympic marathon gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge, strategically use periodic smiling during performance to relax and cope, according to CNN.com.

How long should you smile for? Does smiling work during other endurance activities? Can a simple relaxation cue have similar effects? More studies are needed to determine the answer to these questions, say researchers. But for now, it can’t hurt to think of a happy memory or grin at a passerby during your next run.

Why Should You Run
If you haven’t already, you might want to add running to your list of recovery activities. Just be sure to get your doctor’s clearance (especially if you’ve been sedentary for some time), invest in proper footwear and start slowly to avoid injury.

Running can help you to:

  • Stay busy and avoid boredom
  • Manage stress and anxiety (common relapse triggers)
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Meet new, like-minded friends
  •  Maintain a healthy weight

More on Fitness and Your Recovery
At Seabrook, we believe that regular exercise is an important part of your addiction recovery. To this end, we offer clients a fitness center complete with treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes, treadmills, free weights and more. To learn more about our treatment program, call today: 800-761-7575.