Running and anxiety.


  1. A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
  2. Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.
worry – concern – care – uneasiness – trouble – disquiet



Uncertainty is a fact of life.

It is something that we all have to deal with.

Some are better at handling it than others.



Uncertainty can cause anxiety. It does for me, anyway.

I battled with anxiety in my twenties, but ever since I started running it has been pretty much under control.


This is one of the reasons I run.

Running centers me. It relieves stress and makes me happy.

As hippy-dippy as it sounds, it’s the truth.

15121330-hippie-group-hitchhiking-on-a-countryside-road-italyI decided to do some research on the effects of running on someone with anxiety.

Here is what I found…

Your physical energy contributes to anxiety in a host of ways:

  • Unused energy can become anxiety and actually create anxious thoughts.
  • Unused muscles may become tense and cause more anxiety symptoms.

imagesThere is a high correlation between those that don’t exercise and those that experience anxiety. In addition, beyond the health components of jogging and exercise, there are additional benefits as well. These include:

Endorphins – During exercise the body releases neurotransmitters that are designed to make exercise easier and less painful, like endorphins. Endorphins also play a significant role in relaxation. By exercising, your mind and body will have a much easier time relaxing.

Cortisol – Cortisol is a hormone released during times of stress, and it’s responsible for many of the symptoms associated with anxiety. Running burns away excess cortisol, causing fewer anxiety symptoms and less long term damage from cortisol release.

Overall Health – Running also improves every component of overall health. It teaches your heart and lungs to breathe more efficiently. It regulates hormones and improves muscle strength. It keeps your body a type of health that prevents excess stress.

Some studies have shown that regular running may be as powerful or more powerful than some of the world’s most well-known anxiety medications, all without any side effects.

Feeling anxious?

Lace up your sneakers and go for a run.

Your body will thank you!


32 thoughts on “Running and anxiety.

  1. Nikki says:

    There’s no doubt, running is a wonderful way to deal with stress, depression and anxiety. In fact, it helped me get through all three of those after my accident…


  2. Chelsea says:

    I completely know what you mean! I still have issues with anxiety, especially related to new or unfamiliar social situations, but since I’ve taken up both running and yoga I find that I’m able to avoid feeling that nearly as much, and I’m able to deal with it much better when those feelings do arise. Thank our lucky stars for something so fantastic being literally just a few footsteps away! 🙂


  3. Runner Girl Eats says:

    Running absolutely helps me with stress and anxiety! When life gets crazy I make sure to get in some runs. It’s free therapy 🙂


  4. Dawn H. says:

    Ashley, sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time! Anxiety always passes, even when it takes time (last year I dealt with a lot of anxiety, probably why I stuck with running!). Take a breath, go for a run, and let your readers know if you need help 🙂


  5. joanned3 says:

    Love this post!! Couldn’t agree more! always say running saved my life, and battling anxiety is one of them. Before I found running, I had severe social anxiety, going out was terrifying for me. Now I have this confidence and assertiveness in myself because of running that I’ve never had before and it’s brilliant! There’s just something about it, about propelling your body forward, of being in control, that makes you feel like everything is going to be just fine. And there’s the science the back that up! 🙂


  6. hylaridenour says:

    As a runner and yogi, I find that both help me deal with stress and anxiety in similar ways. Not hippie-dippie at all! Running (and yoga) brings you back to yourself where you can reconnect and restore your sense of self and spirit. I feel really lucky that I have both to rely on when life throws challenges at me. Hope things work out for you!


  7. jessgee83 says:

    I’m with you. I used to be a huge stress head but since exercising I am so much better for it. I still have my moments though. We all do! Feel better


  8. Brooke @ wreckingroutine says:

    Ugh. That anxiety monster is the worst. I have been dealing with it pretty steadily while living in Vietnam this past year. The sad part is, not much running happens around here unless it’s tethered to a treadmill. I hope you feel better and become more certain in what’s going on soon.


  9. Amanda says:

    Thank you for posting. I’ve been dealing with anxiety on and off for a few years, and running has helped so much. I hope whatever is going on sorts itself out and that your anxiety dissolves 🙂


  10. PENNY says:

    I to have dealt with anxiety. I had it when I was younger and didnt realize what it was, I just thought I was going nuts. I couldnt control it. After a while it got better, than after I had my first child in came back full force. Being a lone and taking full respond ability for a my child by myself while my hubby was in the field literary scared the shit out of me. I went to a 12 step program to help me manage my anxiety it worked until last fall when my two boys were both at college and getting the crops out was all up to my hubby and me. That scared me just thinking about it. We were on our last day of harvest and I had a full blown anxiety attack. I thought I was going to die. I was out of control. I have been dealing with it since last fall. Some days are better than others, but i would say to that running, workout has helped me alot. Hope it gets better for you. We just have to take one day at a time.


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