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Running to recovery: How exercise impacts mental health

Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 20, 2017

We all know exercising has amazing benefits for your body. But did you know it can have an equally important impact on your mind. One woman says running gave her her life back.

Getting ready to run is something Amy De Seyn has been doing for quite a while.

"When I was in high school and most people slipping out in the middle of the night to go to parties or whatever I actually was sneaking out of my house to go for a run," De Seyn says.

And since she can remember, hitting the pavement was about more getting than a runner's high.

"I had a pretty rocky upbringing," De Seyn says. "I had a volatile relationship with my father and I found that running really just helped me escape everything."

When an injury grounded her freshman year of college, she not only lost running, but lost herself.

"I had a really bad bout of depression," De Seyn remembers. "I started drinking a lot and partying a lot because I was looking for happiness elsewhere. I wasn't a happy person."

It took years, but De Seyn became a happy person thanks in part to therapy and returning to running.

"I found myself always coming back to running," De Seyn says. "Like that has always been my saving grace."

It's more than a feeling. It's science. Research found people saw a significant difference in mental health when exercising anywhere from 2.5 to 7.5 hours a week.

"I feel so confident and powerful and strong and beautiful," De Seyn says. "Because it's just like coming back to like square one."

Even if running's not your thing, De Seyn says you can find some type of activity you connect with. And try it out alone or with a partner for extra motivation.

"That's where you are going to find your happiness and just remember like that life really is beautiful," De Seyn says.

A new approach that may lead to a new outlook on life.