National Stress Awareness Day: 5 ways that running can reduce stress

Stress is a common part of modern life due to work pressures and managing our day-to-day lives, but if left ignored it can trigger serious chronic illnesses and take over a person’s life. National Stress Awareness Day has been marked as a day to be aware of the stress in our lives and how it affects us all.

Whilst we’re all doing our best to manage our work-life balance, exercise is essential, and we can’t put it on the back burner. It may be difficult for us to drum up the motivation to exercise (especially in this cold weather), but running and sticking to a regular exercise routine can be a huge stressbuster, and here are the reasons why…

1. Running boosts your endorphins

Whilst running, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins, also commonly known as ‘runners high’. This is the sense of well-being and euphoria that many people experience after exercise. So why not keep at it going all year round? You will most likely notice increased feelings of well-being as you stay committed to a consistent running routine.

2. Running enhances your immune system

Regular and moderate exercise has been proven to benefit your immune system in many ways. It can help you maintain healthy body weight, improve your blood pressure and circulation, and can help clear bacteria out of your airways. Exercise can also cause a brief elevation in body temperature that may be protective, strengthen antibodies to help fight infection, and reduce stress hormones.

3. Running improves sleep

Running has been shown to improve your amount and quality of sleep, and help you set a normal sleep schedule. The chemicals released during and after running relax your body and encourage deep sleeping. Having a regular sleep schedule is good for your brain and can improve your mental health.

4. Running calms you down

The chemicals released during and after running can help those experiencing anxiety feel calmer and lift their mood. Whether you’re outside or on a treadmill, getting your body moving is a healthy way to cope with tough times.

5. Running gives you a sense of community

Whether you’ve joined a running club, a regular park run or a social media group, having people who are working towards a common goal, discussing training plans/stories can give you that sense of community, make you feel happier and much less alone. It can also act as a great source of motivation and give you a sense of purpose, which can result in various physical and emotional benefits.