Does Running Help Depression?

Yes, running can help with depression. Studies have shown that regular exercise like running can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Running can help reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and improve self-confidence. It can also help with sleeping better, which is important for managing depression.

I’m not speaking of running races or seeing how fast you can run. Running for depression is merely a good and comfortable pace for you. Whether you’re passing everybody else on the track or merely jogging along through your neighborhood and listening to tunes on your phone, this form of exercise will set you free from anxiety and depression.

Consistent physical activity has a huge impact on a person’s mental health, making them more optimistic and giving them a general sense of well-being. To get the most out of your exercise, though, you will need to be on a regular schedule.

Does Running Help Depression

Runners know better than anyone that they can start out feeling depressed, tired, stressed, or overwhelmed with work or life, and by the time a run is finished, they are feeling completely rejuvenated.

That’s because most any physical activity naturally frees your mind from the cares of the world.

Your mind is probably even more powerful than you imagine. In fact, it’s so powerful that your thoughts can and do control your physical health and most of the world around you.

When you are stressed and depressed, your mind is taking your health and the world around you to dark places you could do without.

However, exercising on a regular basis is the best way to overcome depression,  giving you fresh and much better perspectives on your life, and how to deal with life in general.

There’s little doubt that when it comes to exercise for losing weight or improving heart health, it’s hard to beat running. But it’s important to remember that there are even more benefits than that. Here’s why:

1. Running Decreases Stress Levels

We all deal with the mental state of mind known as stress, don’t we? Our society seems to think it’s a normal state of affairs to exist in a state of anxiety and stress and that there’s nothing to be done about it.

Here’s an eye-opener for you: Nothing or no one causes your stress.

Yep, that’s true. We actually give people, places, things, and situations the OK and the power to make our lives stressful. We have the mental ability built right in to let stressful situations fly right by us.

But it takes learning how to go through life relaxed, and it takes getting started.

Running could be your first step to learning to relax and let stress go before it even occurs.

If you’ve run at all, you know how your focus quickly turns to your breathing, the sound of your feet, and the scenery as it flows by you as you chug along. All the feelings of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger that entice your depression are going up like smoke in the air as your breathing soothes your mind and body.

In fact, running becomes the release button for all the stress that’s accumulated during the day. That release is one of the prime reasons this form of exercise seems to be addicting.

2. Runners Have High Self Esteem

There are several reasons why running on a regular basis boosts your self-esteem and makes you feel better about yourself. You begin to be aware that you are:

  • Doing something that is keeping your general health in good shape
  • Maintaining just the right weight
  • Increasing your stamina and focus
  • Learning to keep pushing, even when you want to stop and rest
  • Noticing that eating healthy is becoming a natural part of life
  • Feeling good and at the top of your game most of the time

Those are just a few benefits right off the top of my head, but there are far more that you need to experience for yourself.

The more your energy and endurance increase, the more you realize you have a responsibility to your body. Unhealthy foods and behaviors seem to just disappear, become unnecessary, and become a waste of time.

You start to realize how good exercise is for you and feel honest pride in yourself, which makes you feel better about yourself. And isn’t depression the opposite of high self-esteem?

3.  Running Frees Us From the World

Face it, most of us are spending hours watching TV as a way to simply escape the feelings that make us think we are in a box that we would like to tear out of, right?

Well, to tell you the truth, any physical activity is much more freeing than vegging out in front of the tube or staying in bed for days because you’re simply too depressed to face the world.

There’s just nothing like the sense of freedom from the challenges and obstacles of life when you’re in the flow of rhythmic movement. As the negative thoughts fade, there is nothing to stop you from moving through life at your own pace.

There’s a sense of freedom and release from bosses, jobs, responsibilities, children, spouses, creditors, and all the obligations of life. Of course, you don’t get to stay there, you still have all of that and more as a natural part of life.

However, when you’re jogging, you are overcome with a sense of calm and silence that soothes your entire body and mind.

And here’s the deal with escaping life with running instead of depression:

The inner peace begins to flood over into all of our lives, making it so much easier to take on life’s responsibilities with a clear head and direction.

In general, physical activity helps us clear our minds and calm down from the inside out. It’s just that nothing does that while giving you a sense of timeless freedom like running does.

4. Depression Can’t Fight Running

Most people aren’t able to achieve a runners high with every outing, but even if you never experience that, you will release beta-endorphins naturally and automatically.

These beta endorphins are neurotransmitters that come into play during depression, stop firing correctly, and leave us with a diminished feeling of well-being. However, nothing beats exercise for turning these things on and saying goodbye to depression.

Running brings on a most complete feeling of peace and happiness as your body comes to that place of seemingly effortless movement. When all your body parts are working and operating in complete unison and your mind is free from the stress and anxiety of living in today’s society, there’s no place for depression to exist.

So, I’ll say it again: If you deal with depression — you need to be running!

If you’re out of shape, and can’t run, there’s hope! Here’s how to get started:

  1. Decide where you will run. Will it be on a walking track, on the streets of your local neighborhood, or country roads?
  2. Set a definite time for every other day to do it.
  3. Walk a minimum of 30 minutes on those days at the place you have chosen.
  4. Whether it’s the first day out, or it takes you a couple of weeks, start including short distances of jogging into your walks. You may only be up to a few steps at first, but that’s great.
  5. Don’t include it at the end of your workout, but in the middle.
  6. Run as far as you can and then walk until you’ve caught your breath. When you’re up to it, run some more!
  7. By continuing on through thick or thin, you will turn your walking (which also helps with your depressed state) into running in a short while, and forget you were ever depressed.


There is no doubt that regular exercise alleviates depression!

If you can get yourself outside, or even on a treadmill indoors, don’t waste another minute.

Whether you call yourself a runner or are just learning how to jog, you can change yourself and your life with a regular running schedule.

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