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Jogging can improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
Everyone experiences some anxiety in the course of normal life, but for some people, anxiety can be extremely debilitating and interfere with everyday living. According to Medical News Today, anxiety is a term for a number of disorders that can cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry. Fortunately, although there is no total cure, there are several things you can do to ease your anxiety. For example, some people take medications or go to therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health. But there's another thing you can do, too: start jogging.
Jogging can produce calming effects to ease your anxiety. Although the reason this happens isn't exactly clear, scientists suspect that a raised body temperature -- your body will grow hotter while you run -- creates calming effects, according to the Mayo Clinic. Jogging has higher calming effects than other sports, like soccer, for example, because of the rhythmic, consistent motion of your body, says Indiana University. This results in what is known as the "training effect," where the the heart is able to take in more oxygen and release more carbon dioxide. However, your heart rate also will increase during your jog, so you might actually experience more feelings of anxiety at first, according to Psych Central.
Jogging will cause your body to release endorphins, known as the feel-good brain chemicals, says the Mayo Clinic. In fact, the effect of endorphins on the mind is so strong that Gary Small, MD, has found that jogging can almost completely cure feelings of depression. In addition to endorphins, jogging increases the blood flow in the brain and releases other neurotransmitters like serotonin, which improves mood.
In addition to biological benefits, jogging can also have a positive emotional impact on you. For example, if you're feeling stressed or are having a terrible day, going out for a half-hour run can be just the break you need to take your mind off things. You could jog outside to take in the scenery or even watch a movie while on the treadmill. This might just be the distraction that you need to turn your bad day around.
Healthy Coping Mechanism
Your anxiety can manifest itself in unhealthy ways. For example, some people bite their nails or pull their hair to deal with feelings of stress. Others suffer from panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, and phobias, among others, according to Remuda Ranch, an eating disorders treatment center. However, you can also release your anxiety in a healthy way, like jogging. In fact, the Calm Clinic specifically recommends jogging in moderation as a coping mechanism for your anxiety.