Does Running Help Panic Attacks

As someone who has struggled with panic attacks, I understand the intense and overwhelming nature of these episodes. Many individuals, including myself, have turned to running as a potential coping mechanism for managing panic attacks. It’s important to explore whether running can truly help alleviate the symptoms of panic attacks and provide a sense of relief during moments of distress.

Understanding Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are characterized by sudden and intense feelings of fear and anxiety. Symptoms often include rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom. These episodes can be debilitating and make it challenging to carry out daily activities.

The Science Behind Running and Anxiety

Research has shown that engaging in physical activity, such as running, can have a positive impact on mental health. When we run, our bodies release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins can create a feeling of euphoria, commonly known as the “runner’s high,” which can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Regulating Stress Hormones

Furthermore, running can help regulate the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increase the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which plays a key role in mood regulation. These physiological changes can contribute to a calmer state of mind and potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

Personal Experience

From a personal perspective, I have found that going for a run during times of heightened anxiety has provided me with a much-needed outlet to release pent-up tension and worry. The rhythmic motion of running and the focus required during the activity have helped me redirect my thoughts and regain a sense of control over my emotions.

Seeking Professional Guidance

While running can indeed be a helpful tool in managing anxiety and panic attacks, it’s essential to emphasize that it is not a standalone solution. Consulting with a mental health professional to develop a comprehensive treatment plan is crucial for addressing the root causes of anxiety and receiving tailored support.

Developing a Routine

If considering running as part of an anxiety management strategy, it’s advisable to start slowly and gradually build up a routine. Setting achievable goals and incorporating running into a broader self-care regimen can lead to sustainable benefits for both physical and mental well-being.


In conclusion, from both scientific evidence and personal experience, running has the potential to be an effective aid in managing panic attacks and anxiety. However, it’s important to approach running as part of a holistic approach to mental health and to seek professional guidance when needed. Ultimately, finding what works best for each individual in coping with panic attacks is a deeply personal journey, and running may be a valuable component of that path.