That great feeling you get after running is called a runner’s high. Running can be an intense workout and intense workouts can burn off the hormones of stress. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how running relieves stress. Why does that occur? It’s all about the fight or flight response. In early man, the fight or flight response prepared the body to run or fight. It was important when wild animals or attacking tribes might cause death. Today, stress isn’t as simple as fighting for your life. It comes in the form of traffic jams, crying babies and rude shoppers. While it might feel good, fighting or running in these situations aren’t necessarily appropriate.
You’re hardwired for the fight or flight response, so it doesn’t matter what type of stress you experience, the body prepares for both fleeing and fighting. There are several ways to deal with the situation. You can burn off those hormones with activities that simulate either fleeing or fighting or learn to control the level of stress. Sometimes, control is out of your control. So, the changes occur. Your heart starts pounding, your blood pressure rises, your pupils dilate and digestion slows. You may even have brain fog.
When you’re running, you’re doing the very activity that burns off the hormones of stress. You’re taking flight, even if you aren’t running from a predator. You not only burn off the hormones of stress, you also increase the production of hormones that make you feel good. Not only that, the increased circulation sends more blood to your brain, clearing up brain fog in the process and making your entire body feel better.
Stress contributes to anxiety and depression. In fact, among the many causes of both anxiety and depression is stress. Many therapists are using exercise, whether it’s strength building or running, as an adjunct therapy. Several studies show that it works as well as drugs and has no side effects except a healthier body. In this case, it’s a combination of burning off stress hormones and increasing the happy hormones that cause a runner’s high.
For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness