Director of a career center, helping many students and others make the right career choice
Running regularly is beneficial both physically and mentally. (Shutterstock.com/areebarbar)
Exercising regularly plays a huge role in leading a healthy life. Apart from keeping your body in good shape, exercise also maintains a healthy mental state. Stress puts a heavy strain on your brain, heart, immune system and even digestive system.
Different people deal with stress in different ways. There are those that put on their running shoes and run harder than before. Others may opt to focus their mental energy on the source of their stress, leaving little or no time for running.
Here’s why you should consider running when you are stressed out:
Running affects your brain
Running leads to the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain called endorphins. Releasing endorphins usually causes an analgesic effect on your body, which is often referred to as a runner's high. These natural painkillers will inherently make you feel better and in control, greatly improving your state of mind.
As a result, you will be in a better position to deal with the issues that are causing stress.
Running alleviates stress
Stress tends to have a negative effect on your mood, making you anxious and sullen.
Rhythmic exercise like running helps to relax your mind. The rhythmic flow of a repeated action significantly reduces the feeling of restlessness.
Through running, you help your brain work at the same rhythmic pace, enabling you to think more clearly about the issues gnawing at your brain.
Running helps sleep
When you focus all your mental energy on resolving a stressful issue, you risk losing sleep. Rest is very important, and you are better able to tackle stressful situations successfully when you get enough sleep.
Running tires out your body, helping you fall into a peaceful slumber that doesn’t involve tossing and turning. You will feel refreshed in the morning and more capable of handling what life throws at you.
Running helps daily organization
A major contributor to stress can be the lack of organization and planning, whether in your work life or home life. Following a particular daily routine automatically puts your mind at ease, since you know what to expect.
Incorporating a running plan into your life will help you set regular goals. You will feel a sense of achievement when you follow through with and attain your goals, which will ultimately help you gain a sense of control over the other areas in your life that you feel aren't too organized.
Fight or flight is the natural instinct that is generally used to deal with stress. However, even though the undesirable situations that you might face today don’t require fighting or fleeing physically, your body will still release the chemicals that trigger these reactions. Subsequently, you will feel stressed out, and without the appropriate channels to relieve your mind, you may act out negatively. By going out for a run, you are able to deal with your body's natural response to stressful situations.
Research indiates that runners are better equipped to deal with high-stress situations. This could be attributed to the discipline they instill in their bodies by running regularly. This discipline translates to resilience in tough situations.
When compared to people who don’t exercise regularly, who tend to have lower emotional stability, their counterparts who run or exercise regularly are able to face tough situations without being overwhelmed by them.
To improve your running experience, it is equally important to wear the correct pair of running shoes. The wrong shoes can cause both long-term and short-term problems such as hip and knee pain, Achilles tendinitis and other undesirable issues.
It is important to have a proper understanding of your feet and the ideal fit for running shoes. Generally, the proper shoes aren’t too tight and leave just enough room in the front for your toes to spread out as you stride and land while running.
In conclusion, it is important to fit running into your busy schedule in order to build mental toughness. This will help you handle stressful, often inevitable, situations in a healthy way. With the right running shoes on your feet, who knows, running might even turn into a much-loved hobby!
Lena Linetti is the director of a career center, helping many students and others make the right career choice. She usually evaluates the individual’s background, training and education to help and develop realistic goals and help guide them in choosing a profession or type of degree necessary to be successful. When she is not helping others, you can find her exploring the deepness of writing
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.