Running may be just the way to manage stress and achieve that “runner’s high.”
Running for Women’s Mental Health: How It Can Boost Your Mood
Running has numerous positive psychological benefits, such as releasing natural compounds associated with feelings of happiness and contentment. A recent study confirmed this benefit of running routines on both genders.
Mental Health in Athletes: Psychosocial Stressors
Though athletes may appear healthy on the surface, they can still be exposed to many psychosocial stressors that exacerbate or contribute to mental health concerns. Gender-specific and intersectal social factors may play a part in reduced mental wellbeing among female athletes – including sexuality, race ethnicity disability status socioeconomic status.
Reducing or preventing psychosocial stressors is central to improving women athletes’ mental health, so developing policy and programs to address these concerns will ensure both athletes themselves, and wider society, benefit from sport’s positive mental health impacts.
As athletes move into their senior years, they are at greater risk for suffering diminished mental health. Studies have indicated that athletes who experience depression or anxiety prior to retiring experience greater psychological distress and life satisfaction post-retirement than other athletes.
Although this review focused on identifying psychosocial stressors that adversely impact female athletes’ mental health, future research should explore factors affecting transition and retirement experiences of female athletes. This will further advance understanding of mental health disorders etiology, pathophysiology, and neurophysiology.