Learn how to reduce and manage stress through exercise.
Health: Chronic Illness
Health: Stress Relief
Health: Tips & Tricks
Stress can be found in every area of your life and can affect every part of your body. Exercise is good for your overall health and almost any type of exercise can help you reduce and manage your stress. One reason you feel stressed is because your day isn't long enough to do what you have to do much less fit exercise into it, you may be surprised what you can do if you set your mind to it.
If you've been overworked and stressed for a long time without exercise, you're probably also out of shape. When you're trying to manage your stress, even a little exercise will go a long way. If you're serious about a plan for stress management, you need to figure out that exercise-stress relief connection.
Exercise works to relieve stress in three different ways. These include:
- Pumping up your body's endorphins—Endorphins are your body's "feel good" neurotransmitters. Physical activity helps increase the production of the endorphins. It's often called the "runner's high," but that's not the only way it works. You can take a long hike, play tennis, or go for a bike ride. These will also work to increase endorphins.
- Works like meditation—When you're finished exercising, many times you discover that the irritations of the day have faded away. You simply focused on what your body was doing during the exercise and totally forgot everything that caused you stress. It can make you more optimistic and give you more energy. It will help everything you do to be done in a calmer, clearer manner.
- Puts you in a better frame of mind—Stress can leave you depressed and/or anxious as well. It can lead to way too many sleepless nights. Exercise will help you get a good night's sleep. When your depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness are overcome, you'll feel better. Feeling better always improves the mood because you feel you have better control over your own body and your own life. It always puts you in a much better frame of mind.
When looking for stress relief, there are a few steps you can take that will help put exercise to work for you.
- Talk to a doctor—Exercise isn't something you should just jump into if you haven't exercised for a long period of time. Talking to your doctor to be sure you're healthy enough for exercise. Your physician will be able to help you figure out what will work best for you.
- Start simply—Your fitness level is something you have to build up gradually. Sometimes when you begin something new, you can end up overdoing it. This can cause you to get hurt if you're not careful. The recommended amount of exercise is either moderate aerobic for 150 minutes each week or vigorous aerobic for 75 minutes. Beginners should always start moderate and build to vigorous.
- Do exercise activities you enjoy—It's hard to stick with an exercise program if you hate what you're doing. Since almost any type of exercise will help reduce your stress, there is a wide variety to choose from. You can try walking, jogging, running, climbing stairs, riding a bike, tai chi, weight lifting, swimming, or even gardening.
- Put it on your schedule—Exercise is something you may feel like you don't have time for, but it is something you have to make time for. Putting it on your schedule and scheduling around it will help you be able to have time each day to exercise.
- Don't give up—Once you begin to feel the stress relief, you’ll be glad you stuck with it, so don’t give up early on.
Stress can really take a toll on your body. It can lead to numerous health issues and even lead to an early death. Don't give stress the upper hand. Take the first step in reducing stress and begin an exercise program today.
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