We all experience stress in our day to day lives. It’s normal. If left unchecked, however, stress can cause a number of problems, including depression, fatigue, and headaches. Cardiovascular exercises like running have been shown to be some of the most effective, if not the most effective, ways of relieving stress. As little as 20 minutes of running in fitness clothing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels in the body, leaving both body and mind feeling
Kinesiologists, neurologists, and scientists have been spent thousands of hours exploring how exercises like running help to relieve stress. Through their research, they’ve discovered a number of ways that running helps to reduce stress levels in both the body and mind. This article will list 5 ways running can relieve stress.
1. Running releases endorphins
Endorphins are nature’s happy drug. When released into the brain, they make you feel happy, joyful, and excited about life.When running, the brain triggers the body to release large amounts of endorphins to counteract feelings of muscle tiredness and exhaustion. These endorphins, if released in large enough amounts, can trigger a ‘runner’s high’, making you feel happy and elated while reducing feelings of stress.
2. Running reduces stress hormone levels in the body
Stress causes the release of cortisol and other stress hormones into the body.
In small amounts, these stress hormones provide a number of useful health benefits, including increased energy, improved cognitive function, and improved pain suppression. In large amounts, however, they hinder more than they help. They impair thyroid function, increase blood pressure, and cause feelings of anxiety and despair. Running helps to purge the body of excess amounts of stress hormones. It signals the brain to stop releasing these hormones, thereby reducing stress levels overall.
3. Running improves sleep quality
Scientific research has found that the more active your body is during the day, the better your quality of sleep will be at night. Better quality of sleep comes with a number of important health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced amounts of stress hormones in the body, and a more relaxed body and mind. These health benefits, in turn, help to reduce stress levels, leaving the body feeling more refreshed and energized in the mornings.
4. Running relaxes the mind
Running gives you some alone time with your thoughts. It gives you time to connect with your mind and forget the difficulties that plague your life. This meditative effect has been shown to calm the mind, massively reducing levels of stress hormones in the body.
5. Running strengthens the mind against difficulty and adversity
Running is not easy. It’s mentally and physically demanding, and it requires a lot of mental fortitude to do well. Running trains your mind to better deal with adversity and difficult conditions. It makes your mind stronger and less resistant to life’s daily pressures, which reduces the amount of stress hormones being released into the body.
Running has been scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to combat stress. If you find yourself feeling stressed in your day to day life, start running a few times a week. It might just turn things around.
Aimee works in the city in a highly stressful job. She loves running and cannot emphasize enough the fantastic mental and physical benefits of exercise.