Why Running Relieves Stress

That great feeling you get after running is called a runner’s high. Running can be an intense workout and intense workouts can burn off the hormones of stress. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how running relieves stress. Why does that occur? It’s all about the fight or flight response. In early man, the fight or flight response prepared the body to run or fight. It was important when wild animals or attacking tribes might cause death. Today, stress isn’t as simple as fighting for your life. It comes in the form of traffic jams, crying babies and rude shoppers. While it might feel good, fighting or running in these situations aren’t necessarily appropriate.

Your hormones don’t know the difference.

You’re hardwired for the fight or flight response, so it doesn’t matter what type of stress you experience, the body prepares for both fleeing and fighting. There are several ways to deal with the situation. You can burn off those hormones with activities that simulate either fleeing or fighting or learn to control the level of stress. Sometimes, control is out of your control. So, the changes occur. Your heart starts pounding, your blood pressure rises, your pupils dilate and digestion slows. You may even have brain fog.

It’s about the flight in fight or flight.

When you’re running, you’re doing the very activity that burns off the hormones of stress. You’re taking flight, even if you aren’t running from a predator. You not only burn off the hormones of stress, you also increase the production of hormones that make you feel good. Not only that, the increased circulation sends more blood to your brain, clearing up brain fog in the process and making your entire body feel better.

Exercise of any type, including running, is a adjunct therapy for anxiety and depression.

Stress contributes to anxiety and depression. In fact, among the many causes of both anxiety and depression is stress. Many therapists are using exercise, whether it’s strength building or running, as an adjunct therapy. Several studies show that it works as well as drugs and has no side effects except a healthier body. In this case, it’s a combination of burning off stress hormones and increasing the happy hormones that cause a runner’s high.

  • If you participate in vigorous physical exercise, like running, you’ll not only burn off stress, you’ll improve your body in other ways. It helps reduce blood pressure, which lowers the risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • The changes caused by stress and high hormone levels remain if you don’t burn off the hormones, which can cause serious conditions. One hormone, cortisol is linked to increased belly fat.
  • Running, like any strenuous exercise, has an effect on your microbiome. It can increase the beneficial microbes in the body. Beneficial microbes help control mood and can improve your mood dramatically.
  • No matter what type of strenuous activity you do, it improves the overall strength and endurance of the body. That can make a marked improvement in your posture and make you look more confident. The more confident you look, the more confident you’ll feel. People will even treat you differently.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness

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