Exercise as Stress Relief
We know that exercise is good for the body and the mind, it is vital for maintaining mental fitness, therefore we can see how it can be a great tool for stress management. For some people, constantly being told exercise is needed in their routine and then trying to fit it in every day, can be stressful itself. The good news is that any form of exercise, in any amount, is effective for relieving stress. Any amount of activity can boost your feel good endorphins and can distract you from everyday worries. From going for a small walk or run outside, to going to a yoga class, by moving your body you will feel a difference for the better.
Exercise increases the production of endorphins in your brain, these are your feel-good neurotransmitters that can improve your mood. These endorphins are sometimes referred to as ‘pain-relievers’ or other times ‘runners-high’, both suggesting that exercise gives you a great feeling that your mind and body needs. This regular exercise can increase your self-confidence, and can help lower symptoms of depression and anxiety. Stress is often linked to lack of sleep, the two go hand in hand, exercise can improve your sleep so in turn can reduce your stress levels. Studies show that exercise reduces fatigue, improves alertness and concentration.
By taking some time to focus solely on exercising, you will forget about the worries and tensions of the day. This can create a calming effect, almost like a form of meditation, clearing your mind and concentrating only on the movement of your body. As you bring this into your regular routine, you may find, overall, a calmer, more clear and focused state of mind. Stress in your life can also prove to be harmful to other functions in your body, by exercising you are helping your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems and in turn reducing the harmful effects of stress.
It is important to find an activity you enjoy, so it will not feel like a chore when the time comes. Start with a friend or a group, so you know you are not alone, you will be more motivated to do it. Set some achievable goals and work towards them gradually, you may feel less stressed sooner than you think!
Mayo Clinic, 2020, Stress Management - LINK
ADAA, 2022, Physical Activity Reduces Stress - LINK
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