Does Running Relieve Stress?

Not only does running help relieve stress, it also can help improve your mood. When you’re under stress, your body sends hormones to start the process that prepares your body to either run away or fight. It’s called the fight or flight response. It makes changes, like sending more blood to extremities and slows those functions that aren’t important to immediate survival, like the digestive process. That response kept man alive, but today’s stressors aren’t the same. The fight or flight response won’t help you during a traffic jam or addressing issues with an angry customer. In fact, it works against you.

Your mind gets foggy and blood pressure goes up.

A lot of changes occur under stress and if you don’t do something to counter those changes, can cause problems that ultimately make you ill or create a serious condition. Stress not only takes a toll on your physical health, it also affects your mental health. It can create anxiety, which creates more stress and before you know it, you freeze mentally and physically, unable to do the daily tasks. Studies show running and even brisk walking can help counter the problem. Why do you think people pace? It feels good and helps lower stress and anxiety levels.

Exercise of all types are used as adjunct therapy for anxiety and depression.

Since anxiety and depression can occur from excess stress and exercise is used to combat them, it makes sense that exercise also helps reduce the stress that causes the problem. Running burns off the hormones of stress and causes the brain to release hormones that make you feel good. These hormones, are endorphins, which help block pain and make you feel good. Think, “runner’s high.”

When you exercise or run, you slow the release of cortisol.

Slowing the release of cortisol helps reduce the potential for feeling stressed. One study shows that running helped deal with the changes caused by chronic stress. Since cortisol is associated with the accumulation of fat on the abdominal area called visceral or belly fat, that’s a second benefit of running. The slowing of the cortisol and burning off of stress hormones allows your body to return to a normal state.

  • Studies show that meditation helps balance brain chemistry, which allows better coping skills in stressful situations. The peaceful repetition of running mimics meditation and can provide the same benefits.
  • Running benefits overall health, which can also lower your stress level. If you’re injured or ill, your blood pressure probably increases because both put your body under stress. Running helps prevent that change.
  • There can be a social part to running, like any type of exercise. Having a running partner or workout partner can be a big benefit and add to the reduction of stress with a pleasant social interaction.
  • As with all types of exercise, running builds muscle tissue and can help improve your posture. Improved posture gives a look and feeling of confidence, which also reduces stress.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance

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