Does running help reduce stress? The short answer? YES!
The long answer?
Running can help calm you. It can give you something to look forward to. Running can give you a break from whatever stressors you’re experiencing. It can be meditative and help clear your mind. Running gives you endorphins!
It won’t cure your stress but it will definitely help your stress feel less severe. It is difficult to keep running during stressful times but it is important to turn to running instead of away. Per Runner’s World, having a routine before you get stressed is ideal. You will feel the effects of your run no matter when the stress happens. For those without a consistent routine, it only helps if the stress happens soon after running.
Plus, if you run outside you can have the added benefit of sunshine and soaking up that sweet vitamin D!
How do you get out the door for a run when work has been crazy busy, the kids want your attention, and the dog just got mud all over the living room carpet? First, take a deep breath and let it out. Repeat as needed. Then, schedule your runs! Actually, put time on your calendar, planner, whatever that says, “Go for a run” and treat it like any other important meeting. Make it a non-negotiable.
I know, I know, it’s not always that easy but trust me, it does help.
What about those days when you feel you just couldn’t possibly run? You’re tired and want to plop your butt in front of the tv instead. We’ve all been there. The easiest thing to do is put your running clothes on and head out the door for 15 minutes. If, after those 15 minutes, you still want to go home and watch tv? Go for it!
More than likely you will keep going and finish your planned three miles.
Of course, running isn’t the only exercise to help reduce stress. Get moving and your heart rate up and you’ll feel better! Sometimes just taking a walk in nature is all you need. Sometimes picking up heavy shit helps clear your head. Same rule applies here, just start and tell yourself you’ll do 15 minutes. I bet you go longer and finish your workout.
What is your favorite exercise to help reduce stress?
Want a free daily planning PDF to help schedule your workouts? Grab it here.