via Daily Prompt: Flee

With Christmas looming, overtly hyped in shops and high streets, and meeting work deadlines before the longed-for period, we all need a little escape. Don’t let this be merely a new year’s resolution – to relax and have that ‘me time’ -go for it now.

Flee from the stress. Flee from personal, financial or work-based issues, or even from that argument about who used the last of the milk to traffic jams and running out of data on your mobile.

And how can you do this? Run.

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Jeffrey Martin Phd. of Wayne State University in Michigan said that stress can often increase fatigue and muscle tension as deep breathing when stressed increases the effort of running. The Sports Psychology professor said, “athletes under stress, according to studies, get sick and injured at a higher rate than lower-stressed athletes.”

Appyrun researched some top seven tips to flee from kerfuffles this Christmas:

1.) Don’t expect too much

High performance expectations is only putting more unwanted pressure on your self. Say in your head you’ll run for ten minutes, and if you’re enjoying it, say five minutes more, then another five, then five again. That way you’ll achieve something tiny, or even something big if your legs can carry you for two hours.

2.) Run outside

We know its cold. We know it’s probably raining as we know we’re in Wales. But treadmill running is known to cause repetition and contributes to potential boredom. Obviously in a snow storm we don’t condone you to don your Nikes and brave the blizzard. But outdoor running, whether road, trail, or pavement can be interesting and sights you see could motivate you to run further and discover more, especially with Wales’s beautiful surroundings.

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3.) Run to the beat

Runner’s World investigated a study by the The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research which proved that running with music had an impact on performance. “On the 5Ks when the runners listened to music, they ran their first two laps (of 12.5) faster than when they ran with no music.” If you’re in it for the PB’s, listen to fast, upbeat music. If you’re merely going out to get away from the office/ family argument, then slower and more soothing music can work for you. Appyrun found that having a go-to ‘Power Song’ massively motivated them to run when they listened before running.

4.) Buddy Up

While running alone can help you compartmentalise your issues, running with a buddy allows you to verbally address your stress. Harry Mills Phd said, “socialisation or enjoying other people’s company and maintaining a sense of connectedness to others, is an important component of stress reduction. According to the doctor of phsychology, running with a partner reduces feelings of loneliness and promotes feelings of safety, belonging, and enjoyment.

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5.) Spice up your run life

When running as a flee from stress, tactics and pro techniques may not be on your mind. But doing something as small as sprint alternating can help you focus on something else (pace) and allow you to move the stress to the back of your mind in the meantime.

Sprint splits are known to increase heart rate, which promotes good heart health and in the long run (pun intended) a healthier heart can lead to reduced stress.

Health Fitness Revolution said, “sprinting also has many benefits beyond physical ones, such as providing stress relief and building perseverance and discipline.” The elating feeling of fleeing everyday issues with wind under your wings will certainly leave you chuffed with yourself, as they also said, “he release of [extra] endorphins when sprinting stimulates confidence and relief, especially after having successfully completed a workout.”

6.) Use your head

Running, as any other sport, requires mental toughness. We’re not telling you to go out and nail a half marathon, but getting out there for even a short period will help strengthen your muscles and your mind.

“Mental toughness,” said Graham Jones of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, covers “self-belief, [promotes healthy] motivation and desire, dealing with pressure and anxiety, and focus.” A small jog will push these constructive feelings through your body, which all contribute to a healthier cognitive state.

You can toughen up your mind by running any distance.

7.) Sweat success

We’ve all had a crick in the neck before a deadline or during an argument, as stress causes physical tension in the muscles. So, if you flee from the issue by running, the sweat you produce during this cardiovascular activity contributes to stress relief.

“Exercise stimulates neurochemical pathways in the brain, resulting in the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers,” says James Ting, MD, California’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute sports medicine physician.

We know it sounds silly, but wearing extra layers (a given at Christmas time anyway!) increases the amount of sweat produced. Gross, but tactful. “I wear three layers when I train,” said ex professional boxer Ebbi Wasay, 28. “I’m dripping with sweat, but it’s good for you!”

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