You may have already heard of popular stories of casual runners or even marathon joiners who declared that running reduce their stress levels, prompting you to give running a try, too.
Yes, running as well as other forms of physical workouts and exercises can be excellent stress relievers. It can clear your mind. However, do you know that it is possible for you to acquire physical and mental stress too because of running?
No, this should not discourage you from doing your usual runs. As mentioned above, running is an excellent means of relieving stress; but this is true for some cases and not all.
Physical exercises such as running let your body release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that reduce or minimize stress and pain. In addition to your body releasing endorphins while running, you can also clear your mind. Many runners claim that running helps them form a good decision about work, or even better assess a situation regarding their relationships.
Running also serves as a great distraction from the stress and anxiety brought by a busy day. Because your attention may be focused on other factors while running, such as your speed or rhythm, you may subconsciously forget the worries of the day.
You can also get a good night’s sleep if you’ve had an enjoyable run. While stress and anxiety can make you stay up all night.
However, if you’re experiencing extreme stress, you may want to skip running and re-schedule it for some other time. If your body and mind have been under a lot of mental and physical pressure and you force it to exert even more effort by running, your body will produce Cortisol. Cortisol is an important hormone also known as stress hormone. These hormones are released when a person undergoes a significant amount of stress. Having high amounts of Cortisol can affect a person’s memory as well as fat metabolism. Maintaining high levels of Cortisol for a long period of time can lead to depression.
Therefore, whether or not running can add to your stress or get rid of it is dependent on your current stress levels before you run. If you just have normal, day-to-day stress levels from work, you can use running to your advantage and reduce stress. On the other hand, if you’re extremely stressed out, choose to chill or mellow out for a few days, get enough sleep and rest and just resume running once you are certain your body and mind will be able to handle it.