Ask a runner why they run and you might get a variety of reasons. Maybe they needed to lose weight for their health’s sake. Perhaps it was a requirement from being in the military and they decided to continue it. Others began running in school and continue because they enjoy the “runner’s high”. Whatever reason people choose to run, helping to understand why running is a natural stress buster may encourage them to keep running.

Everyone feels stress at one point or another in their lives. Demanding work schedules, problems with relationships, and not taking good care of yourself are just a few of the things which cause stress. While it’s not possible to totally remove stress from your life, running is a natural stress buster you may want to add if you’re faced with too much stress.

The scientific and medical communities have long told of the benefits of exercise for our physical health. Being physically active can also be a boon to our mental health. Even though being active is a form of stress, it can greatly improve our lives in so many ways.

Stress of any kind causes a huge release of biochemicals into your body which causes your heartbeat to increase, preparing your body for fight or flight. If the body doesn’t react in either fashion, the stress hormone cortisol is released into the body and can cause physical damage to the body. Exercising will approximate the flight response and bring the biochemicals into balance.

Running releases endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters producing the runner’s high. They also reduce the sensation of pain which could explain why some runners can run even while injured. Running, because of the release of endorphins, can be seen as a valid treatment for those suffering from depression and may produce better results than drugs or psychotherapy.

If you’re feeling stressed, angry or frustrated, running is a great outlet for releasing pent-up emotions. Running can help take your mind off problems, partially due to its rhythmic nature. Being outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air can also do wonders for helping you overcome your frustrations.

One of the most important benefits of running, however, is the improved health you experience. Not only are you providing your body with exercise, you’re also removing damaging stress. And since you’re being active on a regular basis, you’re less likely to feel the effects of stress when it tries to worm its way into your life. You may not be entirely free of stress but you’ll notice it much less.

Running is a great activity to help you stay healthy. Once you know why running is a natural stress buster you may be more willing to give it a try. So, who’s ready to tie on their running shoes and bust some stress?