Exercise for Stress Relief
You’re well aware of the benefits of physical activity for your body, but you may not know the multiple ways exercise can ease your mind and reduce stress. Almost every form of physical activity, from cardio to yoga to sports, acts as a stress reliever – whether you’re a hardcore athlete or take a casual approach to fitness. Getting your blood pumping releases endorphins that improve your outlook and distract you from the worries that creep into your mind. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of exercise and some tips on how to get the most out of your sweat sessions.
The Impact of Stress on Your Body
It’s not just in your mind when you’re feeling anxious and worried about work or your personal life. Stress makes your muscles tense, which can eventually lead to neck and back pain. It can even lead to digestive problems, resulting in a nervous stomach, ulcers, heartburn and other ailments. Over time, stress can affect your heart and respiratory system.
Exercise – Benefits to the Brain
When you get your heart racing through physical activity, it stimulates your brain to boost its production of neurotransmitters known as endorphins. These are chemicals in the body that make you feel a great sense of exhilaration, thereby minimizing stress. This is what’s referred to as a runner’s high or second wind though many other forms of exercise will result in these benefits.
Plus, exercise for stress relief is like engaging in a relaxing meditation session. After you work out, you’ll often forget how annoyed you are by work issues or the problems you had finding a parking spot. Releasing your daily tensions through physical activity helps you remain calm – even when you’re not exercising.
Finally, there’s no doubt that excess body weight can be a great source of stress for many people concerned about their appearance. Exercise provides a double dose of contentment here, as it makes people look and feel better through the self-confidence they experience when they look in the mirror.
Exercises and Tips for Relieving Stress
You don’t need to run a marathon or climb a mountain to gain the benefits of exercise for stress relief. Many types of physical activity can help ease your mind, including:
- Weight Training
- Martial Arts
In addition, there are many activities you do every day that can ease stress if you take advantage of the opportunity. Park further away from your destination and walk; take the stairs instead of the elevator; do jumping jacks during TV show commercials. Any of these will get the endorphins flowing and give you an emotional lift.
The desire for stress relief should inspire you to hop on the treadmill, grab some weights or head outside for a brisk walk. Of course, the beneficial impact on your attitude during a workout isn’t worth much if you don’t invest time in proper recovery afterward. A cool down, stretching and good nutrition ensure your muscles recover from your sweat session and reduce the likelihood of injury, another stress you don’t need.