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The Science Behind Running in the Rain: Why It's Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Updated: Jan 9


Running in the rain| Women leg and reflection in a water puddle

Do you ever see someone running in the rain and wonder, "Why on earth would they do that?" Besides the obvious fact that they're probably training for a race or getting their exercise in for the day, there's actually a lot of science behind why running in the rain can benefit your physical and mental health. In this article, we'll take a closer look at how it's part of a healthy lifestyle and what the research says about running in the rain. We will explore how it can help with stress relief and endurance and even touch on the environmental benefits of getting your sweat on while Mother Nature does her thing. So next time you're faced with a rainy-day workout, consider embracing the wet and getting in a few miles – your body and the earth will thank you.



Running in the Rain: What the Research Shows

Not only is running in the rain an excellent way to push your physical limits, but it can also be a powerful tool to apply in your healthy lifestyle. Additionally, running improves your mental health and endurance and benefits the environment while helping you meet your weekly requirement of 150 minutes of exercise. The research shows that physical activity generally can reduce stress levels, and running can benefit anxiety and depression symptoms. We can boost our concentration, mood, and energy when we run. The immune system can be increased by running for 30 minutes when you feel a little off, like when you are coming down with a cold or everyone around you is ill.


As it improves your resting heart rate, running for 10 minutes daily reduces the chances of dying from heart disease by 50%, and running five times a week reduces upper tract respiratory infections by 43%. According to a published study, it boosts both long and short-term memory by increasing the size of the hippocampus, which is a memory-controlling region of the brain. In contrast to popular belief, it increases bone strength and muscle mass, which eases pain in your back and knees. What happens when you combine exercise's endorphin-boosting benefits with falling rain's calming effects? Let's explore the science behind how running in the rain can clear your mind and improve your overall well-being.


Mental Clarity: How Running in the Rain Can Relieve Stress

Girl running in the rain in a field

Research has shown that exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and promote mental clarity, but there's something about running in the rain that takes those benefits to the next level. As the rain falls around you, it's easy to lose yourself in the moment and let go of any worry or anxiety you may be feeling. Not only does the rhythmic sound of the rain help to soothe your mind, but the act of running itself can also be meditative, helping you to clear your thoughts and find inner peace.


When you combine these two elements - the calming effect of falling rain and the endorphin rush of exercise - you create the perfect conditions for achieving mental clarity. When running in the rain, you are stimulated by all your senses as you can smell, hear, taste, and feel the rain. Those stimuli can help you to let go of your worries and focus on the present moment, allowing your mind to rest and recharge. And as you continue to push yourself physically, you'll also build mental resilience and endurance, which will help you to better cope with stress and challenges in other areas of your life.

Hands catching the rain outdoors


Overall, running in the rain is a powerful tool for improving your mental health and well-being. Whether you're dealing with stress or anxiety or just need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a rainy run can provide you with the clarity and peace of mind, you need to face whatever comes your way. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, grab your running shoes and head out into the rain - your mind and body will thank you! And best of all, you'll be setting yourself up for even greater success in your physical training.




Improved Endurance: Running in the Rain and Performance

In addition to improving your mental health, running in the rain can also improve your endurance. We previously discussed a few benefits affecting the bones, muscles mass, immunity, and heart health. Regarding endurance, running in the rain has a few added benefits compared to running in the sun. Researchers have found that running in the rain increases oxygen consumption, increasing the amount of energy required during exercise. As a result, you can enhance your cardiovascular endurance. The heat loss will decrease your overall performance as your body has to produce more energy to keep up with the heat loss and stay warm.


Running in the rain in a park

Using this method can help you build endurance, but be careful to avoid hyperthermia. It is always a good idea to layer when running in the rain and find a good rain shell that breathes and keeps you warm. In addition to creating more resistance to your workout, rain also helps to build endurance by making it more challenging. By incorporating this type of training into your fitness routine, you'll be able to push yourself even harder during your regular runs. Furthermore, the added challenge can help prevent boredom and keep you motivated.


Environmental Benefits: Why Running in the Rain is Good for the Earth and You

The benefits of running in the rain extend to the environment as well. Taking advantage of a rainy day to run is like appreciating nature's work. There are times when rain can be a nuisance, and having sunny days all year round may sound like a dream, but drought areas or places prone to water shortages appreciate it. As you become aware of this and appreciate nature, you will be able to let go of what you cannot control.


If you want to have the rainbow you need to deal with the rain!
Feet jumping in a puddle on a rainy day

As well as conserving water, running in the rain can reduce air pollution. Rain removes pollutants such as dust, pollen, and other harmful particles to the environment and our health. Running in the rain can benefit those with allergies and asthma. It can be beneficial to kick off your shoes during a cooling down period so you can benefit from the grounding benefits of water since water is conductive.


There are many benefits to running in the rain, even though it may seem daunting at first. Get used to it by doing small sessions at first. Even 10 minutes can provide all those benefits. So the next time it's raining, don't shy away from a good workout. Take advantage of the refreshing change of pace that rain offers and enjoy the rewards that comes with it. Lace up those shoes and get running – you won't regret it.


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.

Ozeya Life can help you plan your healthy lifestyle goals and support you throughout your journey. Would you like to start a running regiment? Would you like a tailored plan with daily motivation and a personal toolbox with tracking tools, workout progress and more? Contact us or book your first session now!



***Ozeya Life uses affiliates who align with our company's values. There is no additional charge for you. Many offer free trials and discount codes. As a result of these affiliates, we have been able to continue our volunteer work. Thank you for your support.


References

PubMed, Health benefits of physical activity: a systematic review of current systematic reviews, Darren E R Warburton 1, Shannon S D Bredin (2017) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28708630/

PubMed, Rain exacerbates cold and metabolic strain during high-intensity running, Ryo Ito, Naoyuki Yamashita &alt, Oct (2019), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31694361/

PubMed, Rain influences the physiological and metabolic responses to exercise in hot conditions, Ryo Ito, Naoyuki Yamashita & alt. Jan (2015), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25555077/

PNAS, Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory, Kirk I. Erickson, Michelle W. Voss & alt, Jan, 31st, (2011) https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1015950108

NIH, Running Changes the Brain: the Long and the Short of It, Carmen Vivar and Henriette van Praag, Oct. 11th (2017), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6148340/

PubMed, Effects of rain on energy metabolism while running in a cold environment, R Ito, M Nakano & alt. Jan (2013), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23371827/



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