This article is a guide to help you with running for stress relief, this is one of the major reasons why I love running so much and has helped me a lot through the darker times in my life.
Stress is a natural process of the human body, generating an automatic response to external conditions that are threatening or challenging, requiring a mobilisation of physical, mental and behavioural resources to deal with them, and sometimes disturb the person’s emotional balance.
The environment, which is constantly changing, forces individuals to adapt; therefore, a certain amount of stress is necessary for the body to respond adequately to the challenges and changes of daily life. It is what is known as positive stress.
It is a physiological and psychological response of a person who tries to adapt to the pressures to which he is subjected, originated by the instinct of survival of the human being, in which many organs and functions of the body are involved, such as the brain and the heart, muscles, blood flow, digestion …
Although the stress response is initially necessary and adaptive, when it is prolonged or intensified over time, health, academic or professional performance, and even individual or personal relationships of the individual may be affected.
What are its causes?
The causes by which a person can develop stress are diverse. Although certain vital events that affect the family or the social environment in which one lives may be the cause of stress, the most common factor is pressure in the workplace. This situation is usually caused by working conditions and forms of organisation that responds more to technological processes and productive criteria than to the capacities, needs and expectations of the individual.
Even so, it is quite common for the same work environment to generate different responses in individuals. This clearly indicates that external factors are only one element (sometimes determining, in another secondary) in the development of stress in a person. Rather, their development is conditioned by the ability of each to cope with stressful situations, in which their particular characteristics, such as personality, the strategies they adopt and their social support, are particularly important.
What happens in a stress situation?
For this reason, stressed people often gain weight through fat or lose muscle and harm their immune system in the worst case scenario. What to do with all that energy? Physical exercise is the best way to combat stress, increase caloric expenditure and stimulate the nervous system in a positive way.
Some of the consequences of stress are:
- Tiredness, exhaustion or loss of energy
- Pain in the back
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- High blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Tension in the neck
- Stomach ache
- Raise or lose weight
- Humour changes
- Pressure of teeth or jaw
- Take more alcohol, tranquillisers, or other drugs.
- Smoking more
- Decreased self-esteem
- Problems in your relationships with others or at work
- Problems in different areas of life
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Changes in lifestyle, for no apparent reason
- Propensity to have accidents Etc
Running can be a great way to relieve yourself from stress and can help increase and improve metabolism and blood circulation. Many people understand the importance of exercise as a form of resistance to weight gain and loss, but exercise can also be an important factor in reducing stress. Running can help improve mood and mental health.
How to relieve stress with running
- Buy a good pair of shoes. If you are going to take up running you will need to make sure you have the best support possible. Purchasing unsuitable footwear can hurt and crush the soles of your feet.
- Choose a path that you would like to run. If you do not want to run on a regular race route then you can run it in a park, across a field or on the beach. Choose a place where there are landscapes to enjoy.
- Start running at a slower pace. Try not to over exert yourself at the beginning. Start slow and light and let the blood flow.
- Measure the time when you are going to run. Usually, when someone starts up, they make a short time and increase the time as they get used to it. You can also run 5 minutes, then walk 5 minutes and keep going for style.
- Breathe properly while running. Your breathing is very important in releasing stress. Be sure to control your breathing and take proper breaths as you run.
The Effects of Stress on the Body
When stress does not last long, it fills you with energy and excitement, and you feel ready to fight. But when the stress lasts longer than necessary, you start to get tired of feeling all the time in a battle attitude and the effects on your body can be very dangerous.
“Fight or flee,” this is the most common reaction of our body facing a stressful situation. The body is designed so that when perceiving a threat or a risk, be prepared to literally give the fight and get away from danger.
How is the body prepared? The hypothalamus, a small part of your brain, triggers an alarm that combines nerve and hormonal signals. On the one hand, the nervous circuits are responsible for increasing your alertness, focus your attention, reduce the sensation of pain, control hunger, sleep and even sexual desires.
On the other hand, your adrenal glands are ordered to release hormones: Cortisol and Adrenaline. Cortisol, which is the stress hormone, sharpens your immune system and increases the amount of fuel in your blood (carbohydrates, glucose and fats) needed to react to stress. Adrenaline increases heart rate elevates blood pressure and increases energy production and utilisation.
The body’s reaction to short-term stress can be beneficial because it maintains the internal balance or self-regulation of the body (homoeostasis), in addition to strengthening the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). It is even said that the feeling of stress can be exciting, so there are many “adrenaline fanatics”. This is because during this process a feeling of physical well-being is generated by concentrating all the energy of the body in being ready to act quickly.
This reaction is usually regulated automatically. When the body ceases to perceive a threat, the alarm goes off, the body relaxes, stops generating hormones, your heart goes back to normal rhythm, etc.
But when your body is permanently facing stressful situations, the alarm remains active and your body is always on alert. Imagine it: it’s like you’re getting ready for a fight that never happens. Finally, your body ends up accumulating energy and working unnecessarily, and that makes you tense, anxious or worried.
Constant nerve activation and hormonal overproduction wears out and deteriorates the body, and can lead to different health problems such as:
- Weakening of the Immune System increases your vulnerability to infections
- Heart diseases
- Digestive problems
- Sleeping problems
- Depression or anxiety and
stress can also worsen other symptoms and other diseases such as cancer and diabetes. In addition, you can make the person adopt compulsive behaviours like the use of drugs, the excess of alcohol or the cigarette, and that it eats more than necessary. These behaviours not only do not relieve you of stress but also put you in a vicious circle that costs a lot of work to break.
So it’s a good idea to relieve your stress with running and find a middle ground so that it does not seriously affect your health.
Benefits of Stress Relief
Most of us do not think about relieving stress unless we are already on the verge of exhaustion. With our busy lives, it is not always obvious how important it is to put proper stress relief into practice before you have a worn out body or an overly exhausted psyche. However, the development of healthy stress relief habits really does pay off in the long run. Not only a regular stress relief practice is to avoid the negative effects of stress, but it can also bring positive results like increased productivity, better health and more overall happiness. The following are some reasons:
Your Health: Excessive stress can actually lead to negative health outcomes, from relatively minor things such as headaches and digestive problems in the short term to serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and infarction, after years of uncontrolled stress.
Your Appearance: Relieving stress can also make you healthier and even more attractive. For example, taking care of your body by getting enough sleep can make us more productive and healthy, as well as avoid dark circles and a poor and worn complexion.
In addition, eating well can keep your blood sugar levels right, even keeping your emotions more regulated, making us more resistant to stress, as well as helping us to wear clothes that suit us best. Exercising regularly can help you clear your mind when you are frustrated and keep your body in shape and toned.
Increase productivity: In short, when you are not stressed, you can be more productive, because you are more focused. So, what really pays off is to maintain stress at functional levels. Certain habits of attention to stress make us more productive in a natural way. Being able to nap, for example, can help you regain sleep and be more focused and productive. Being organised can also help you save time and money in the long run, reduce stress and become more productive in almost every area of your life. Even limiting caffeine can help, improve your sleep and help you feel less stressed at the end of the day. Finally, having the right attitude is actually a habit that you learn. Being optimistic can benefit in many areas of your life.
Your happiness: Some stress relieving practices alone will bring more joy. If you want to enjoy life more, you will need to adopt some of these stress reducing techniques and the fun will come more easily. Taking care of pets, enjoying music, dancing while you clean, having more laughs in your life, maintaining a supportive circle of friends, and even having sex are all fun activities, that also serve as a tranquilliser for tension for several reasons. Ask more about these or other activities.
Your stress levels, of course: The desire to avoid the feeling of being stressed is, in itself, a good reason to acquire stress reduce techniques. Certain general techniques that initially focus on relieving stress (rather than serving a secondary function) are more than worthy of adoption since when you are less stressed, you will enjoy life more. Some of the best stress reducing techniques are available within the catalogue of cognitive techniques in therapy and training. Ask and read more about the benefits of each, and choose a few to try, and you will not have to let stress take you out of energy, productivity and enjoyment of life again.
Running is an effective strategy for stress relief and a life with a low level of stress will pay off in the short and long term. It helps reduce stress and anxiety as the runners are better able to deal with their stress factors effectively. This is attributed to the fact that it renews the management of their thoughts, keeps their minds free of worries and gives them time to think, reflect and concentrate.
Therefore, we can say that the habit of running regularly allows the possibility of living a trans formative experience, which can have a very positive impact on the emotional health of those who practice it.