OMY! Sports News

Psychotherapy of running.


Stress attacks.

Stress is coming from all directions. It is especially strong in late winter and early spring. Low UV index and reduced physical activity in winter naturally “contribute” to the accumulation of stress. Often the news environment is also not conducive to relaxation. And so in March, the head and psyche begin to malfunction. Negative thoughts accumulate, and bad decisions come into the head, which further aggravate the situation. There is a vicious circle that does not allow you to relax and tune in to the positive.

Breathing technique.

Professional psychologists recommend to start improving psychological stance by working on your physical state, that is, the body, and not on thoughts and emotions. And it is better to start with breathing. In a bad mood or even in a panic, we can always manage our breathing. The most accessible method is considered a "square breathing" technique: deep slow inhale (by diaphragm or abdomen), breath hold, deep slow exhale (also tensing the abdominal muscles), breath hold. Each stage goes on for 4 counts. This mode of breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation.

How do we normally breathe?

In daily life, we breathe frequently and shallowly, superficially. The lungs do not get filled with enough air, and oxygen does not enter the body in the necessary volume to improve the condition. Deep breathing, on the contrary, allows saturating the blood with oxygen to carry it to the muscles and brain. Everything then starts working better together — condition improvement occurs.
Square breathing is a technique available to everyone. But it needs to be practiced on a regular basis. What are the chances you’ll remember to do it regularly over the long term?

Running and breathing.

Running or physical activity is a different thing. Especially if you enjoy an active lifestyle like running or other sports. Running allows you to achieve the modification effect (improving) of your condition solely through breathing. During running you don’t need to think about how you breathe — just run, and your body and lungs will adjust and do their job.
If you have a good running plan, there will be plenty of suitable running workouts. This includes easy running, which many consider a waste of time or do incorrectly. Long and developing workouts — tempo, progressive or fartlek — are excellent. A little oxygen deprivation is very helpful in producing the right hormones. These hormones have the main psychotherapeutic effect — they help to cope with stress.

How running produces endorphins.

If you feel better after running than you did before, then the effect has been achieved. What makes it happen? Long runs put runners into a meditative state — runner’s high or "euphoria". This subjective state is the result of the active production of endorphin, the hormone of happiness. During long runs, the concentration of endorphin in the blood can increase up to 5 times. Endorphin induces a state of euphoria, a feeling of joy, physical and mental well-being, suppresses hunger and pain, resulting in a dramatic uplifting of our mood. Important is also that this state lasts for several hours even after completing a run.

Watch out for adrenaline.

Short and intense intervals also stimulate endorphin production, but in much smaller quantities. Prolonged running at extreme speeds produces adrenaline, which is associated with aggression and should be handled more carefully.

Meditative swimming.

A similar effect is achieved with crawl swimming and this too is related to breathing. It is in swimming that natural breathing works similarly to the principle of square breathing. Start with a full exhale into the water — you need to free your lungs for the deep inhale. Hold your breath before you turn for a deep inhale. Then again full exhale under water and all over again. This state of natural hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) excites the parasympathetic nervous system and leads to improvement of physical and psychological state. Similar to meditation.
Engage in your favorite sport and you will conquer any stress!