Running for Stress Relief
I started running about six years ago. I started for the reason I think most people start running- I wanted to be more fit. I wanted to drop about ten pounds (which I did) and become healthier (which I also did, but to be honest, anything would have helped that!).
But I also discovered another huge benefit as I got into the routine of running. It’s a huge stress reliever.
If you aren’t a regular runner, I totally understand that you are rolling your eyes right now. You’ve heard this a million times and you aren’t buying it. How could something so hard make your life LESS stressful?
For those nonbelievers, I hear you. But I’d also recommend you give it a try.
What might start out as something you dread, can quickly become the reason you:
- Are more calm with family, friends and co-workers;
- Sleep better at night; and
- Don’t feel like a bottle of emotions ready to explode.
I started running during a pretty difficult time in my life. I was newly sober and pretty pissed about it, if I am being totally honest.
Before sobriety, my go to stress reliever was alcohol. With that gone, I found myself getting agitated with every little thing. All that energy and pointless anger seemed to have nowhere to go.
About that time, I started to walk/jog with a friend twice a week. We’d circle a local park, trying to jog for three minutes, and walk for five. Slowly over the time, the jogs got longer and walks got shorter, until we built up to 30 minutes.
I always came home from these jogs happier and more relaxed.
Over time, I found myself looking for that outlet even on days when I didn’t have a jogging meet-up with my friend. I’d get out for a few miles on the weekend and noticed that I felt better after a solo jog, too.
I built up to 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and even a marathon last year.
But honestly just a 15-minute jog around the neighborhood can make a huge difference in my mood. I find listening to good music, getting out of the house, and getting my mind on something simple (like breathing) can dramatically shift things.
And it’s not just me, or the other “crazy” runners in your life. The Mayo Clinic even agrees.
So next time you are feeling down, consider doing something that may seem totally crazy. Lace up the running shoes, find a great podcast or playlist, and head out the door for a little walk/jog. You might not fall in love with running like I did, but at least you burned off some energy and calories in the process.
Any runners or non-runners out there want to share some thoughts on the topic? Share in the comments below!