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Smile and Run

Smiling while running can help you run more efficiently. To increase our running performance, stamina, speed and strength, we have to focus on training and running form. But according to research, something as simple as a smile can affect our performance. When adding a smile during our run, we feel our perceived effort is far less than the effort we exert when we frown while running. Research has shown that runners who smiled used less oxygen, ran more economically, and had a lower perceived rate of exertion than runners who frowned. It all has to do with facial feedback. When we make a facial expression, we experience the emotional state we associate with the expression. If we frown, we will feel more negative and tense, our body will feel more fatigued. If we smile, we associate it with happiness or enjoyment, feelings that make us more relaxed, so when we smile, we are consciously trying to relax.

Smiling while running can improve your performance time by at least 2 percent. If you run a marathon and smile, you can finish 5 minutes faster, a 10K race you can finish one minute faster, and a 5K race 30 seconds faster. For shorter distance, it might seem like a small benefit, but overall the body is more relaxed, feels better and we are more in touch with our running form.

For long-distance runners, smiling while running can be even more helpful as they need to conserve as much energy as possible for a long period of time. When running long-distance or high intensity, runners tend to tense up, especially by tightening their jaw, which can prevent runners from having access to a nice relaxed and open airway. When runners get very tight and stiff, they tend to get tired a lot quicker. Smiling during a run activates a positive mentality, which affects the physical positivity. Even if you are not happy, don’t feel like smiling, to add a smile to your run will help your body relax. The muscular expression of smiling can influence or even cause the feeling of relaxation. Runners should keep the muscles in their face relaxed and smile. Smiling instantly boosts positivity, relaxes the body and makes you more self-aware. Running with mental positivity and self-awareness can help you run for a lot longer without feeling as tired. Frowning makes an effort feel harder, but smiling makes the effort feel easier. Smiling while you run even if you don’t feel like it is just part of training. We have to remind ourselves that just smiling itself can cause a positive emotion or feeling, add more energy, feel more relaxed and free. And at the end, you will end up with some nice race photos!

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!


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