Can running help relieve the burdens of anxiety, depression and stress? Research says it can, and it has the backing of the Royal Family to boot. Want to find out how to use running anxiety reduction techniques? Here’s how.
How can running reduce anxiety?
The so-called ‘runner’s high’ is not a myth. While people exercise in many different ways, running is commonly associated with increased feelings of wellbeing and even euphoria. While studies are yet to prove conclusively why this is, there are a few theories. Running is an extension of one of our most essential human traits – walking. The joy found in running may be our body’s way of encouraging a historically life-saving skill. Running anxiety is combatted by the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, which are two feel-good hormones.
Does all running reduce anxiety?
Running on a treadmill is great for contributing to physical health, but you must run outside to gain the mental health benefits of running. It’s thought that the sunlight, fresh air and new visual environment all contribute to relaxation and a calmer mind.
It’s also important to approach running anxiety in a structured way. If you haven’t really tried to run before, don’t set yourself up to fail by expected a world-class distance on your first attempt. Start by going for walks. Ideally, you can build that up to 3 runs per week, each lasting around 30-45 minutes. Try using a free program like Couch 2 5K as a guide to slowly increasing your distance.
Should I run alone or with friends?
Both methods are great for reducing anxiety. Sometimes, running alone provides the space we need to think and consider things in a new light. Other times, it can be really beneficial to spend time with others and share problems or just enjoy each other’s company. Consider running on your own once or twice a week and joining in the local parkrun on a Saturday morning for a more social experience.
Running can help to quell anxiety, but it’s not the only method. Please speak to your mental health professional if you are concerned, and please do not alter any medication schedule without speaking with your doctor.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.