The Restorative Power of Running: How Running Helps Decrease Stress
August 06, 2014
By Tracey Ferdinand (@ALifeWellMade)
The cat threw up on your new laptop. You’re late for an important meeting at work. The neighbor’s teen sideswiped your car. Life is challenging. Every day we’re exposed to situations that cause us stress. These stressors trigger a physiological response that sends hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline coursing through our bodies. This natural reaction isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Over time, however, chronic stress can take its toll on our overall health.
Symptoms of chronic stress include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Some of the psychological symptoms most often reported by women include sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. In fact, women's rate of depression is twice that in men. So finding coping methods for chronic stress such as running is a great way for women to combat its negative effects. Unfortunately, women are less likely than men to use exercise and sports as coping methods. So motivate yourself and your girlfriends. Renew your love of running by utilizing it as a stress management tool.
Running is a wonderful coping method for three reasons. It reduces levels of adrenaline and cortisol. Although these hormones occur naturally in our bodies, chronically elevated levels can have negative effects on our weight, immune system, and increase our chronic disease risk. Running also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevator. This chemical not only helps us deal with pain better but it also creates a state of euphoria. Finally, running builds confidence. When you set a running goal and you meet it, you’re more likely to feel in control. You’re more capable of dealing with whatever stressful situations life throws at you.
Tracey Ferdinand is committed to effecting social change through personal health transformations by promoting physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. A self-love disciple, her writing encourages women of color to cultivate vibrant lives prioritizing self-care. Stop by her website at www.ALifeWellMade.com and visit her on instagram @ALifeWellMade.