Running Hack: Why You Should Smile While Running

smiling_runner

If it makes you a faster, more efficient runner, it’s worth the weird stares, wouldn’t you say? 

Are you a tense runner?

Perhaps this isn’t something you’ve thought about before but if you’re running while stressed (even if you don’t know you’re stressed) you’re running less efficiently. Extra tension unnecessarily uses up your energy and can cause muscle stiffness and soreness.

It’s a tricky, because it’s great to blow off steam on a run. It’s served me well when I needed a healthy release from frustrating situations and a full wine bottle was being a little too ‘come hither’ for my liking.But it’s important to not let your tension get in the way of a  loosey-goosey, efficient run. Think of the following when running to ensure your muscles are relaxed:

  • Am I clenching my jaw? Relax it.
  • Are my shoulders up to my ears? Ease them down.
  • Am I hunched forward? De-hunch.
  • Are my fists clenched? Release them, that’s scary for other runners.
  • Am I thinking negative thoughts? Release those, too.

Cut to the Chase and Smile While Running

Too much to remember? Simply smile. Smiling releases tension in your jaw (it’s much harder to clench while smiling) and, because you primarily smile when happy (unless you’re a psychopath), smiling activates neural messaging that releases neuropeptides that work toward warding off stress. Less stress means less tensing of your muscles. Thanks, science!

Author bio: Sam is a runner who enjoys hills (because, downhill), cherry shot bloks and post-run craft beers . She’s a fan of taking #photoswhilerunning, spending time in nature with her husband and loving on any and all animals, especially her cat. Her other passions include social media (she’s the social media manager at Road Runner Sports) and content marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @SamKerstetter and Instagram at @shosenka7. 

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