Turn a Run into Instant Stress Relief

Turn a Run into Instant Stress Relief

Use these ideas to make your next run a workout — and a mental cool down.


By: Julie Meyers Pron

When stress begins getting the better of us, it becomes more difficult to relieve the tension in your body — and it’s during these times that some movement, fresh air, sweat and literally getting a new view can help clear your mind and body.

Go out for a bit. Go for a jog, walk or run (when you check out with a clean bill of health from your physician, of course).

Many women keep a pair of running shoes in their purse or car these days, ready to get in a quick run when times get tough. Running allows your body to breathe and works muscles stressed from sitting in one spot all day.

Running also, and maybe more importantly for some, allows you think. As your lungs fill up with air and you feel the blood beginning to pump, it untangles the brain from the stress that’s taken over your thoughts. After a good run, your mind is often clearer and it’s easier to see solutions to problems.

Here are five things that could turn your run into a way to relieve stress.

Give Your Run a Soundtrack
There are times when you need an explosive de-stressing session and hardcore metal reverberates through you and results in a strong run. Other times, calming music will allow you to think clearly. No matter how you feel that particular day, just have music that allows you to get it all out while you’re running. Having a few running mixes will allow you to focus on what you need most or distract you from what is bothering you.

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Harmonize With Your Surroundings
Running “in silence” allows you to completely clear your mind and focus on what’s occurring within your body and around you. Listen to shoes as they hit the pavement. Run through a park and listen to nature. Allow yourself to meld into your surroundings and go with the flow. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the city or nature — before you know it, you’ll be done with the run and will have done some meditation at the same time.

Use Every Minute of Your Run to Relax Something
Your body carries the weight of its surroundings, and, when it feels stressed, it cramps. A good, strong stretch allows your muscles to move and to better circulate fresh air that you need to flood your body. During these stretches, breathe deeply and relax. Not only will the pre-run stretch help prevent injuries, a good stretching can do wonders on your inner calm. Be sure to stretch after the run, too!

Invite a Running Partner
A community of support can motivate you as well as provide a separate clear mind. Talk through your stress with the friend — or ignore your stress and get distracted with a good running discussion. Getting an outside point-of-view when it comes to problems you face can be a good thing, whether the view is agreeing with you or assuring you things will work out.

Break in New Gear
Sometimes relieving stress is as simple as changing the clothes you’re wearing. If your running gear is getting worn out, invest in some new things. The technology used in running shoes is nearly space-grade nowadays, and the feeling you get after you wear out the previous pair by pounding the pavement is an achievement in itself. Earn yourself some new gear and relieve some stress while you’re at it!

Running — all forms of exercise, really — offers an excellent opportunity for necessary me-time when you can de-stress and change focus.

Julie is the owner and editor of Julieverse.com and VlogMom.com, a website and network focused on empowering video bloggers. She writes an education column for Rusty & Rosy’s blog page and specializes in parenting, education, organization and travel.

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