We know that exercise is the gateway to feeling fitter, happier and healthier.
But now, many of us are pulling on our trainers to stop emotions like anger and frustration dead in their tracks.
Experts say, when done safely, a ‘rage run’ is a healthy way to let it all go. We spoke to fitness coach for audio-led fitness app WithU Faisal Abdalla to find out more.
How can exercise help process emotions, such as anger?
“In short, yes. Exercise can be an excellent form of combatting emotions. This is due to exercise triggering and changing a range of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, stress hormones and endorphins when you work out. It’s also a known fact that regular exercise contributes to better sleep which, in turn, helps you manage your mood. Exercise can improve your sense of control, coping ability and self-esteem.”
Why is running particularly good for this?
“Running is a great form of exercise to take your anger out, thanks to [the activity] producing plenty of endorphins. Running also increases levels of your serotonin or ‘happy hormones’, causing “prophylactic effect” on anger, as well as helping to regulate body temperature, hunger, sexual behaviour and sleep.
“I’d always advise going for a run or hitting a workout if you’re anticipating any feelings of anger, as it can lift your mood and help you feel more equipped to confront your anger. For example, if your daily commute triggers you, why not try a run before hand?”
What role do endorphins play?
“Endorphins are also known as the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters. They cause a short, euphoric boost, or what’s often known as ‘runner’s high’, preventing any feelings of anger from arising and also helping you become better equipped to deal with such feelings.”
Do you have any tips to ‘rage run’ safely?
“While rage running can be a great outlet for your anger, I’d always advise to be careful as your heightened emotional state can leave you at risk for injury. A study in 2016 found exerting yourself too much while angry can increase your chances of experiencing heart complications, so make sure you cool off and calm down before breaking into a sweat. Although you may be tempted to go straight into sprinting, always warm up pre-run and start slow and steady to avoid injury and being more sore the next day. Make sure to also hydrate rest and give your body time to recover.”