I started running about two weeks ago and everything went well at first; however the last few days I have increased anxiety upon waking, so much that it causes vomiting, for no particular reason. Also I feel more depressed now and lack motivation, for an unexplainable reason.

I assume the anxiety is caused by running since this has never happened to me before, and running is the only change I have made in my lifestyle recently. Also there is nothing in my everyday life about which I worry so much as to cause anxiety.

I started running for health reasons and I never exercised for more than 30 minutes.

My question is, is it possible for running to cause anxiety and sadness?

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    The short answer is, yes, exercise can cause mood changes for the positive or negative. However, the other short answer is that this is the sort of thing you will probably want to talk to your doctor about. Or cut out running for a bit to see if it helps, and if it doesn't see your doctor. Depression is a serious thing and can't be adequately addressed by people on the Internet. May 13, 2021 at 13:51
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    Are you running before bed? Exercise late in the day can disrupt your sleep and sleep deprivation can definitely cause those kinds of symptoms.
    – E.Aigle
    May 14, 2021 at 9:38
  • Maybe you don't like being alone with your thoughts when you're running and it causes your anxiety. May 14, 2021 at 10:00
  • You are an interesting case. Could you try something ? If you have no particular health issue, could you try performing a high intensity workout ? Like a max assault bike calorie for a minute or something similar (so something where you can push the intensity without any risk of injury). And before starting, clearly envision that it will be hard and you will ‘suffer’. DM me or chat if you want to discuss this. This is not suitable for Q&A, it requires personal assessment May 14, 2021 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


Anything can lead to anxiety, really. One the one hand, running should release hormones that help with stress. On the other hand, you are putting your body through physical stress, and from what I have read your body will not really differentiate between mental and physical stress.

However, finding an event stressful has a lot to do with how you view and experience that event, and not so much with the event itself.

You can approach running in a really anxious manner, as an activity where you have to "perform" and get nervous about it. You could actually get nervous for other more subtle reasons as well, which might have to do with your past experiences. For example, you could connect running to some really stressful event that you have had in your past (i.e. PTSD like symptoms). You can however also find it as something really relaxing, where you can stop thinking about whatever worries you, and simply focus in the activity and perform.

If you struggle with anxiety or sadness I suggest you visit a specialist. Things like that can depend on the individual a lot.


Anxiety and sadness aren't very typical symptoms, but yes, running or any other physical activity can negatively influence your mood, in short term. This is because you are loosing a lot of callories, and your body has less energy unless it regenerates.

When I started hiking with a sporty group, not being sporty myself, I've ended up very depressed at the end of the day, and I was easily annoyed by anything and anyone. This is how low sugar level feels up.

Vomiting isn't something surprising by extensive exercise - it's one of the symptoms of the heat strike! Either you were too long on the sun, or you haven't hydrated enough, or eaten too little - or all of them on time. Do not force yourself over your limits, listen to your body, hydrate and eat properly.

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