What are the Psychological Benefits of Running?

Research Paper Title

The psychological benefits of recreational running: A field study.


Running yields positive changes in affect, but the external validity of controlled studies has received little attention in the literature.


In this inquiry, 50 recreational runners completed the Exercise-Induced Feeling Inventory (Gauvin & Rejeskí, 1993) before and after a bout of self-planned running on an urban running path.


Positive changes were seen in all four measures of affect (p < .001). Multivariate regressions were performed to examine the contribution of four exercise characteristics (i.e., duration of the current run, weekly running time, weekly running distance, and running experience) to the observed changes in affect. The results have revealed that exercise characteristics accounted for only 14–30% of the variance in the recreational runners’ affect, in both directions.


It is concluded that psychological benefits of recreational running may be linked to placebo (conditioning and/or expectancy) effects.


Szabo, A. & Abrahm, J. (2013) The Psychological Benefits of Recreational Running: A Field Study. Psychology, Health & Medicine. 18(3), pp.251-261.


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