Running Away Stress

It’s become a cliche – regular distance running relieves stress. It’s true that I always feel more relaxed after a run, but why is that? What are the physiological effects that running has on the human body that help to relieve tension? Here are a few:

Endorphins: When humans run, neurotransmitters called endorphins are released into the blood stream. Endorphins are a kind of natural pain reliever (similar to morphine) that lessens the muscle pain that is produced by running. Endorphins also are very effective at reducing stress levels in the body.

Anger Release: Many studies have shown the harmful effects of bottling in negative emotions and anger. Not only does this cause emotional problems, but it increases stress. Running provides an outlet to release negative energy and return the human psyche to a more emotionally balanced state.

Escape: Running frees the mind from the daily grind of errands, deadlines, and appointments. It is essentially a break in the day that allows people to sort out complex problems in their lives without all of the distractions that humans ordinarily encounter.

Sleep: Many studies have shown the benefits that exercise has on sleep. Because a lack of sleep is one of the key contributing factors towards stress in daily life, running can be do much to not only catch your Z’s, but stop the never ending lack of sleep and stress cycle.

There are, of course, many other reasons why running helps to relieve stress. I will save those for a future post.

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