Run the Path to Stress Relief

by Mackenzie M. | February 23rd, 2012 | Running

We all know that running is good for the body. It pushes the heart and lungs, and it gets the blood flowing. It builds and solidifies muscles, and it helps burn unwanted calories. But when it comes to the relationship between running and stress relief, there is an entire field of unexplored knowledge by the average person.

Many people put off running because they are too stressed or busy, but taking even a short run could take that stress down to a manageable level – and even brighten moods. There is no better exercise for the body and the brain than running.

Any form of exercise can actually reduce stress, but running is the most accessible, and it has the greatest amount of benefits. Even a quick power walk can have the same effect, if running is out of the question. Running has direct benefits that will help to minimize and organize life stress, as well as even improve the mood of the entire day. Scientists have discovered and proven that exercise releases a chemical known as endorphin. These are the “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain, and they are stimulated by pleasurable things, as well as by physical activity. The endorphins are released during power walks and runs, and they make-up something known as the “Runner’s high.” The same effect can be reached through an active game of tennis or a steep hike, but running on a regular basis will keep a solid stream of the endorphins coming.

The most recent mental health benefit of running that I was informed of is that running is literally meditation in motion. The physical act of running helps the person forget about the stressors of the day, and it allows them to concentrate on the movements and breathing of the body. Focusing on running on a regular basis allows the brain to focus on the single task more easily, resulting in newly found motivation, energy, and relaxation. After a run like this, the athlete will often feel relaxed and nearly stress-free. The back and forth motion of the arms and eyes is also a technique used by many therapists to help their patients get rid of unneeded stress and to deal with unresolved life issues.

Many people today discuss how they want to get fit. Once the step is actually taken to achieve this, the effects will be massive. Not only will running get the body back into shape, regular exercise is known to increase self-confidence, as well as lessen the symptoms associated with conditions like mild depression and anxiety disorders. Sleep, which is often disrupted by these conditions, will come more naturally, and will most likely be deeper than before. Overall, a simple jog or power walk three or more times a week will take away the stresses of the day, and so much more.

If you feel frazzled by life, why not give running a try?  It just might be your path to stress relief.


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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.