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THE FITBIT BLOG

5 Beneficial Reasons to Run

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Jen running 8-26

For many people running is the ultimate “zen” activity. People who run often talk about the ways that their minds drift — allowing them to “de-clutter” thoughts while honing in on the things that really matter. Almost every runner will say they “just feel better” after a run compared to how they felt going in, and “sleep like a baby” at night on the days they run. Here are five beneficial reasons why running might help you out.

1. Running boosts thinking skills, reduces stress, and helps you sleep.

When asked in a recent survey about happiness and productivity, only 10% of employees say they do their best thinking while at work — the rest happens when they’re doing something else. Maybe the best way to do “out of the box” thinking is by taking a run outside the office. There could be some science to back this up. Studies show that running helps curb anxiety, enhances “feel good” hormones, and brings oxygen into key areas of the brain for regulating emotions and solving problems.

Comparing the pre-run and post-run scans of runners, neurologists at the University of Bonn, Germany, found increased opiate binding of the happy hormone endorphin in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain, areas known to be involved in processing emotions and stress.

Also, researchers from the University of Illinois found that an improvement of only 5% in cardio-respiratory fitness from running led to an improvement of up to 15% on mental tests (1).  And, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to jog for 20-30 minutes every other day. The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour (2).

So next time your stuck on a problem, instead of getting another cup of coffee, try lacing up the kicks and going for a quick jaunt instead. read more

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 27: Try meditating for 5 minutes

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

We’ve written before about working out being a good way to de-stress. But for times when you can’t fit in a full workout, then what? We turned to author Jenny Blake with this question, and her answer is today’s challenge: Try meditating for 5 minutes!

Meditation, schmeditation. Many of us have read the rapidly-growing number of articles touting its benefits (Improved sleep! Health! Gratitude! Focus! Productivity!) but for the longest time, even as an avid yogi and lover of Buddhist books, I JUST. COULDN’T. GET. INTO. IT. I got bored, restless, and I never “had the time.” (Pfft! What a load of hooey—even 5 minutes goes a long way.)

30 Days to summer Fit, Day 27: Make room for meditation

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Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Reduce Stress by Getting Active Outside

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It’s time to hang up your winter coat! This is the last post in our series of 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts, to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is our second from Lauren Slayton, the author of The Little Book of Thin.

fitbit reach the top

Forget therapy (OK maybe not) have you heard of ecotherapy?

I always joke that my workouts are medicinal. They help me de-stress. It seems that “mean mommy” makes an appearance on the days when there isn’t time for a run. I had previously chalked this up to the endorphins from exercise, the power of a good sweat and the boost I get from listening to my favorite music. I may have missed that where I do my workout is just as important as whether or not I did it.

There is a burgeoning area of research on “ecotherapy” or the effects time spent outside has on us. A study conducted in the UK compared a group walking in a shopping mall to another group walking in the park. After walking in the park, 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem, 88% improved mood and 71% felt less tense. For comparison, these numbers were under 50% in all criteria for the mall walkers.

Time outside provides an escape from our homes and our desks. It’s a time to reflect and may evoke good memories. Outside time also stimulates our senses with color, sounds and fresh air.

After walking in the park 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem… read more