Running builds confidence like few other individual sports can. Runners grow stronger and surer of themselves with each and every footstrike. Running allows you to truly climb hills and clear obstacles; it provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.
Researchers have found that physical activities like running and jogging are directly related to better self-esteem. Regular exercise can lead to improved perceptions of fitness and body image, both of which were linked to self-esteem.16
The 2020 review also analyzed studies that included only runners and compared different levels and types of running. Some of the studies showed a positive association with higher self-identity and self-efficacy, with lower levels of depression. Additionally, studies that investigated marathon training showed a positive relationship with self-esteem and psychological coping.3
Being able to observe how far you’ve come in terms of your mileage, time, or overall running ability can be highly motivating and build confidence.