There are numerous studies and research on the many physical benefits of exercise to include aerobic exercise, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and balance, however, there is increasing evidence to list the psychological and cognitive benefits and its relation to physical exercise, some of these include; heightened mood state, less anxiety, stress and depression, improved self esteem and body image. Studies conducted in Finland on participants between the ages of 24-64 explored the association between physical exercise and psychological traits and demonstrated that participants who exercise at least 2-3 times a week experienced less anger, distrust, depression and report a stronger sense of social integration compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Participants competing in long endurance events such as the Marathon has steadily risen over the years. Data taken of both demographic and socio-economic groups from various studies has seen a rise in running becoming a popular sport.
The Marathon runner embarks on this challenge for many reasons and they must adapt their lifestyle and training far beyond the recreational exerciser to include high levels of demanding physiological and psychological adaptations to push beyond their current capabilities. Furthermore, the rewards and positive benefits of this training will outweigh the negatives of marathon running.
The London Marathon is my third marathon, as a veteran runner I have improved with age, both on personal performance together with a faster post marathon recovery rate. Training for a Marathon demands a consistent, disciplined, structured routine which will manifest into other areas of the runners life to include; personal goal achievement, better life management, psychological and emotional strategies for coping and better vitality and health.