Running is a great way to relieve stress! For somebody like me that lives a hectic and stressful life running is often my go-to form of stress relief. This past week has been pretty overwhelming due to many business decisions I’m having to make and other things that are in process. Since I have been so busy and have a newborn at home I hadn’t been out for a run in nearly a week, until this morning and I already feel a million times better. Earlier in the week anxiety was starting to overtake me, but all I needed was a run!
One of the main reasons running can help to relive stress is the release of endorphins, also known as the “feel-good” hormone. Running, along with any other intense exercise releases this hormone. I’ve found from personal experience the harder I’m running the more I experience this. Even though I will experience loads of stress relief from a long run, I can get the same effect from an intense short run. Running not only helps relieve anxiety and stress, but improves the imune system, relaxes muscles, improves blood flow, and increases overall health.
I actually first started getting into running while training to climb the East face of Longs Peak, but continued my running regime after finishing the climb, and found I was in much better overall health, happier, and had less anxiety. I also used this as a time to meditate, pray, and escape the worries of the day. And, since getting into ultra running, it has proved to be an amazing way to escape my cares and worries, but at the same time solve problems and talk to the Creator as well as build relationships with other runners.
I’ve also heard countless stories of people that have turned their life around, just from running. There are said to be numerous recovering alcoholics in the Ultra Running community, and I know at least one individually personally that is a recovering alcoholic and found solace in running (and has completed numerous marathons). Plus, I can tell you from personal experience you just start feeling good about yourself as your overall health and well-being improves.
Trail running, I have found, is an even greater form of stress relief. I typically find I feel better after a long trail run as upposed to a run across town, or through a neighborhood. There is just something about connecting with nature, and being in creation that helps you feel more grounded. Plus, it’s more secluded, which leaves you more time to your thoughts.
So, if you are finding yourself stressed, lace up those running shoes and hit the
road, I mean trail! It’s sure to help your worries fade away, and for those lingering anxiety causing problems, running just may be your way to solve them and experience numerous health benefits at the same time.