Just 10 minutes of running could boost mental health, study finds

A new study reports that jogging for as little as ten minutes could boost your mood and improve brain function

Man has big smile on his face after a run
(Image credit: Getty)

Running is great for our physical health but it also greatly benefits our mental health. Recent research reveals that as little as 10 minutes of moderate-intensity running could benefit your mood and brain function.

Going for a run can feel very therapeutic even without knowledge of the science behind it. It's a chance to get outdoors, grab a breath of fresh air, burn some calories and strengthen muscles all at once. Owning a pair of best running shoes for women or best running shoes for men can help to enhance this experience, designed specifically to support and boost your runs.

Researchers at the University of Tsukuba (opens in new tab) discovered that running at a moderate intensity for just ten minutes increases blood flow to the part of the brain that plays a significant role in controlling mood as well as brain function (the loci in the bilateral prefrontal cortex). 

To put this to the test the research team collected data on hemodynamic changes linked to brain activity as participants carried out tasks. They did so using the Stroop Color-Word Test a cognitive test used to analyze the effects of interference on reading ability.

Woman sits on steps looking happy after completing a run

(Image credit: Getty)

The first finding made by the research team was a significant reduction in interference effect time after participants completed ten minutes of moderate-intensity running.

Secondly, they found that bilateral prefrontal activation had substantially increased during the tests. The participants reported feeling in a better mood after running for ten minutes.

One of the study authors Professor Hideaki Soya said, "Given the extent of executive control required in coordinating balance, movement, and propulsion during running, it is logical that there would be increased neuronal activation in the prefrontal cortex and that other functions in this region would benefit from this increase in brain resources."

If you aren't sure about running hopefully this news makes the form of exercise a little more appealing to you. Dedicating just ten minutes of your day to moderate-intensity running can improve both your mental health and cognitive functions.

Outdoor running isn't everyone's idea of fun but if this relates to you remember that you can hop on a treadmill indoors for ten minutes instead. The best treadmills feature various functions and settings to adjust things like speed and intensity exactly how you need them.

If you need more convincing on why running is a great sport to take up to benefit both your physical and mental health read our five-step guide to achieve the famous "runner's high".

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.