Everyone knows about the physical benefits of running. It burns fat, builds muscle, and boosts your endurance. There’s no question that running has made me a faster, stronger, and healthier athlete.

But what about how running helps your brain?

Ever since I became a runner, my mindset has changed. I’m a much more positive, confident, calm, and happy person as a whole. Why? Because running has taught me how to believe in myself. 

When you’re in the middle of a long and tiring run, every bone and muscle in your body will tell you to stop, rest, catch your breath, and drink some water. If you’re still new to running, it can be very tempting to give in to your body’s demands and cut your run short. 

But the first time you ignore the complaints coming from your brain, push through the pain, and finish your run, you prove to yourself that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.

Once you realize this, you no longer need to feel overwhelmed by life’s difficult situations. When the going gets tough, you can stay calm because you know that at the end of the day, you are in control. Sure, you can choose to stop, take a break, or give up, but you also have the power to keep going, overcome your obstacles, and achieve your goals.

The confidence, positivity, and happiness that running has given me doesn’t just apply to sports. It shines through in everything I do: my schoolwork, my friendships, and my other hobbies. No matter what’s going on in my life, I never worry. I know that I can conquer it.

Through running, I have taken control of my mindset. Now, I know I can do anything.


Kenan Pala is a guitarist, triathlete, trumpeter, traveler, and cosmonaut in training. At 11 years old, he’s juggling his education and his passions for music, entrepreneurship, and staying active. He graduated from fifth grade in 2015 and attended NASA’s United States Space Camp over the summer. Triathletes and his entrepreneurial parents inspire Kenan. He likes to go on business trips with his mother and explore historic cities.