What is jogging therapy?
Exercise has therapeutic effects that can help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and various other mental health concerns. “Running…is a form of natural psychotherapy. It stimulates the unconscious and is a powerful catalyst to the individual psyche” (Kostrubala, 1978, p. 133). Research indicates the following factors are associated with reduction of depression through running: mastery, patience, capacity for change, distraction, generalization, positive habit, symptom relief, consciousness alteration, and biochemical changes (Sachs, 1984). Characteristics of running therapy include changes in thinking patterns, the use of symbolism and metaphor, and nonverbal communication. The positive benefits of aerobic exercise in the context of psychotherapy may lead to a more profound and beneficial experience of psychotherapy.
Research has long demonstrated the benefits of exercise and of group therapy on mental health and overall wellness, so why not combine the two? Based on the research of Kate F. Hays (1994) and the group created by Dr. Michael Iezzi at Duke University, I created and facilitated an Understanding Self & Others Jogging Therapy Group at the University of North Texas. I have run this group for one year now, and the results have been amazing. I am so excited to bring this group to my private practice in Southlake! If you enjoy jogging, spending time in nature, and connecting with others, this is the group for you! I’d love to meet with you and share more about the unique and adventurous features this group has to offer.
In addition to doing jogging therapy groups, I have also utilized jogging therapy in individual therapy as well as clinical supervision. Let me be clear: this type of therapy/supervision is NOT about training or weight loss. It is about using exercise as a therapeutic modality and is only used under appropriate circumstances. This type of therapy is not appropriate for individuals struggling with eating disorders or severe body image issues. If you enjoy using exercise as a healthy coping strategy, talk to me about utilizing jogging therapy and we will determine if this modality would be beneficial for you.
Please check out the following cutting-edge articles found in Translational Psychiatry (2016) and the New York Times (2016) below on the powerful neurological effects of combining meditation with running for the treatment of depression.
Here is another exciting finding on the benefits of running.
MRI scans have shown that young adult endurance runners have greater functional connectivity, connections between distinct brain regions, than more sedentary individuals. The findings help lay the foundation for researchers to better understand how exercise can impact the brain, particularly during young adulthood. Previous studies have shown that activities requiring fine motor control can alter brain structure and function. Few studies, however, have examined the impact of more repetitive athletic activities that don’t require as much precise motor control. The findings of this study suggest that these activities could have a similar impact. University of Arizona , Science Daily 12/14/2016