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Another Reason to Exercise: Release Pent-Up Emotions

If you've ever been exercising and just wanted to break down in tears, you are not alone. This is because sometimes exercise may release a surprising slew of pent-up emotions.

Karol Ward, a therapist in private practice in New York City, weighs in on getting emotional while working out:

The body holds on to feelings, even if it seems the mind has dealt with them. So if a person has the opportunity to relax that area, whatever has been held there can come to the surface. The body wants to complete the emotional experience.

This may explain why some of us find a good hard workout at the gym a very liberating and stress releasing experience after a hardship in our lives. If you find yourself in tears, then it should not be anything to worry about (unless you are in pain of course). I will say, however, that I have not been moved (pun intended) to tears, but I would love to hear from anyone that has so share your stories in the comments section below.

Fit's Tip: Crying during exercise can be a great stress-reliever, but sometimes people need professional help outside of working out to deal with their own issues.


Join The Conversation
Tammy-Dee15425000 Tammy-Dee15425000 3 years
I feel emotional while excersizing! they also say it's all the hormones going haywire. In the beginning i felt abnormal, but it is the MOST AMAZING FEELING IN THE WOOORLD!! It's like i'm on ecstacy and just buzzing!!. *happpy feelings while excersizing and even afterwards. **fitness*
TravelAngel TravelAngel 4 years
Today I had the most amazing experience in spinning class. Though I am a beginner, I push myself to keep up with the class and get out of my comfort zone. About halfway through the class, when I was really tired and sweaty and felt like I couldn't go on, I just wanted to cry. I mean sob. Its like something deep inside of me just needed to come out. So I kept exercising and let these feelings come over me. Good thing the spinning room is dark, the music loud and I had no close neighbors so I could let this out. I analyzed my feelings and realized I missed my husband, who passed away 2 years ago. Also that there was a lot of pain around other close family members who have also passed. This was such a surprise; I thought it was behind me! However, there was a lot of good in this because I figured out that if I let these emotions go, there is a great core of love where all this pain lives. So glad to know I'm not alone and not totally crazy.
jenny195500 jenny195500 6 years
i am hear looking for answers to this very thing.. working with a trainer for X 6months, have cried not out of pain, but always after being pushed physically and when i need to dig deep for the strength... she finds it interesting and says it happens a lot in yoga.....
amandasunly amandasunly 9 years
I usually yawn during exercise, actually - I've never really found out why but maybe it's to do with the amount of sleep, or lack therof, I get. I think I've cried during exercise. Not because the exercise is hard/tiring but because of release of emotion - I think a lot about my life when I'm on the treadmill.
sugar_me_sweet sugar_me_sweet 9 years
i'll be so embarassed to cry in a gym with people around but i can understand how stressed people can be
Bookish Bookish 9 years
I've never cried during a jog, but working out can be so cathartic. I have to work out my stress and aggression or I end up internalizing it all and setting myself up for "freakouttages".
GradGrl75 GradGrl75 9 years
I also have never actaully cried at the gym, but man does it feel good to workout all stresses. I am in boyfriend situation that is extremely stressful right now & would be lost without the gym and a good workout...
ncharden ncharden 9 years
nothing relieves stress for me better than a good cardio workout. certain yoga poses (like camel pose) are designed to release emotional "build-up" from parts of your body, which can cause the urge to cry. especially if it's an issue that you thought was resolved but really was still lingering.
Ikandy Ikandy 9 years
Ive never actually cried, but I always feel like Im relieving stress during a workout...good to know its proven.
rosey_y rosey_y 9 years
This doesn't happen to me during cardio or weights but it definitely does at times during a Body Balance class (it's a combo of tai chi, yoga and pilates). All of a sudden I have the urge to bawl my eyes out, but I have to keep it in because I'm in the middle of a class! It does seem to pass though, and I feel very relaxed after the class.
rubialala rubialala 9 years
Ooo, totally. A good run on a bad day is sometimes better than crying about it. It feels good and powerful.
demitrus demitrus 9 years
I cry post work outs, my life tends to be stressful and I carry it all in my body and once I've just pushed myself to the limit I feel so vulnerable, it kind of drives me crazy but I'm glad this was posted so I know now that I'm not totally nuts.
Cycy Cycy 9 years
I had a fight with my boyfriend some months ago and went running in the woods, and just when i started running up a hill I saw a boulder by the rocks and it was literally like someone pulled a switch - I sat on it and cried like crazy. Good thing we resolved it pretty soon after that.
alltherage alltherage 9 years
I never cried while running but ive found it really does release stress.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I don't think I've ever cried when I run, but it does make me feel better. Sometimes, when I can't think of how to deal with my emotions, I'll go for a run to sort my feelings out and figure out what I'm feeling.
allyd allyd 9 years
this happened to me just last week...i went for a walk, and about halfway through my route, i spontaneously broke down in tears! i hadn't realized how stressed out i'd become over the last couple of months...i wasn't even feeling it, i'd just gotten so used to it.
Greentea1203 Greentea1203 9 years
After any fight with my boyfriend or stress at work, I definitely go running with some good music. It always seems to clear my mind so much better than anything else! Fifteen minutes and I'm off work, going home, charging the iPod and hitting the park. I can't wait.
syako syako 9 years
I've also cried during a run. But it was after a "semi-fight" with my husband (I call it semi because it was no big deal, but at the time I thought it was). So being the drama queen that I am, I put my running shoes on and just ran. It felt great to run and cry - I didn't know why, but now this makes sense. 20 minutes into my run my husband drove up beside me in the car and apologized. sigh. Exercise is a great way to get rid of stress though. I agree 100%.
chibarosa chibarosa 9 years
Thanks for the kind thoughts - he's going to be just fine. And I'm going to run as much as possible. Going after work today, in fact, and looking forward to it.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 9 years
AMEN to that Fit! Even though I "feel" like not going to the gym because I'm having a rough day, I feel much better when I have. Damn those chemicals and hormones running through our body! ;) chibarosa, my thoughts go to you and your husband. :FROGGY:
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