3 Reasons Why You Should Smile When You’re Running

Athletic couple jogging in nature

It seems like everyone is into running these days. You can’t drive around San Jose without seeing those stickers on the back of cars proudly proclaiming 26.2 for marathon runners. Even half marathon runners are proud of their achievement and happily show off their 13.1 mile stickers. And while there are a few people who put up 0.0 stickers to poke fun, the prevalence of these mileage stickers is a testament to just how many people are running these crazy long distances all the time.

If you’re one of these people who love to run, you may be training for the holistic dentistry.

Smiling Can Make Running Seem Easier

When you’re running, you’re pushing yourself to your limits, and part of the fun of running is seeing how well you handle that challenge. It’s really great when you push yourself to your limits and overcome. You run farther, faster, or easier than ever before. What’s not fun is when you bonk. You hit the wall and you just can’t go any further.

It turns out that it’s the perception of effort, not the effort itself that really leads to bonk. And this is something that a smile can really help with.

Your facial expressions aren’t just indicators of your mood, they influence your mood, too. If you do a hard task, it might make you frown. And it’s been shown that if you do a task while frowning, you will perceive that the task is harder than if you do it with a neutral expression or a smile.

This is because your brain partly works by responding to feedback from your facial muscles. Your mood is made up of inputs from lots of places, including your facial muscles. Your brain might look at all the inputs and conclude something to the effect of, “The legs are tired, but we’re smiling, so it can’t be that bad!” It sounds crazy, but it works.

Smiling Can Reduce Pain

But what if the wall you hit isn’t effort, but pain? Smiling can help with that, too.

When people are asked to frown during an unpleasant procedure, they report more pain on average than those who are asked to make a neutral expression. So if you can keep yourself from frowning while running, you’ll avoid that extra pain.

And smiling can actually have some positive power as a pain reliever, too. Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are nature’s pain relievers. And you are probably already familiar with how they work. Your runner’s high? That’s endorphins. And who wouldn’t want more of that?

You Never Know Where the Cameras Are

We know, you’re not running to be seen. You’re running for the challenge, the health, or maybe because you’re haunted by something you cannot define. We get it.

But if you’re running, you’re going to be seen running. At every race, there are cameras, many of them held by people who are specifically looking to take pictures of you. And if it’s your major hobby, there’s a good chance that most of the pictures your friends and family will see of you will be of you running.

A few of those pictures show up on Facebook and all of a sudden people start wondering if you’re doing okay. Your mom will worry. Your best friend will pester you. And your weird cousin will start calling you a masochist. Who needs that nuisance?

And since a smile can actually help you finish strong, there’s a lot of good reasons to put on that smile for the end of the race and maybe a few tough parts in the middle.

If You’re Unhappy with Your Smile

With all the benefits of smiling for runners, it’s not a question of whether you should be smiling, it’s more a question of why you’re not smiling. And if you’re not smiling because you don’t like your smile, we can help. A smile makeover can help you achieve a smile you’ll be happy to share, whether you’re walking, running, or standing in a buffet line.

We can also help with sports mouthguards to protect your teeth and potentially improve your performance. And if gum disease is sapping your performance, we can help with that, too.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of a smile makeover in the San Jose area, please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental in Los Gatos.

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