Most people experience stress on a daily basis. For some it is mild and easily controlled, but for others it can be serious and begin to affect their everyday lives. There are many ways to manage stress, but exercise is one that can assist in stress management as well as provide many other health and mental benefits.
1. Increase Energy. Your daily routine can be physically and mentally draining. You may think that you cannot possibly squeeze one more thing into your schedule; however, finding time to exercise on a regular basis has been shown to give you even more energy to achieve those everyday tasks. It may seem strange that exercise, which can be exhausting, can actually replenish your energy levels. Not only can your energy be restored, but your ability to concentrate can be increased as can your overall brain function (1). In order to fully utilize this energy, working out in the morning is a great option.
2. Encourage Stability. Having a consistent routine as well as a goal to be attained can shift the focus of a person’s mind. Even if the stress factors in his life have not been removed, the stability offered by a proper exercise regimen can allow him to concentrate on something other than those stress factors. If you are in need of some consistency in your everyday schedule, make exercise part of your daily routine, not just something that you do if you have time. The best way to accomplish this is to join a specific class that meets at a specified time or to work out with a friend; if someone is relying on you to be there, you are less likely to make excuses.
3. Release Tension. Exercise is a science. There are many chemicals that can be released and many nerves that can be stimulated through physical activity. Endorphins are released during physical activity, and these chemicals offer a person relief from stress as well as a chance to get a better night’s sleep (2). Many people who are trying to do exercise specifically for stress relief choose yoga since it also requires that you concentrate and control your breathing.
4. Balance Emotions. The body and the brain go hand in hand. What affects one will naturally affect the other. When your body is stronger, so is your mind. One of the greatest benefits of exercise is that it allows all the systems of the body to work together. This includes the brain function, which then allows the body to handle stress more efficiently (3). One of the best exercises to accomplish this is running since it works the muscular, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Only a strong and focused mind will be able to balance all these functions properly.
Using exercise as a weapon against stress has been shown to be successful for many people (4). Whether physical activity actually reduces stress or simply lessens the effects of it, there is no question that it is a great outlet for stressed people.
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1. Physical Activity Reduces Stress, Benefits of exercise on energy levels, 2015, http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st
2. Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, Endorphins released during exercise, 2015, http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
3. Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers, Body systems, 2015, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx
4. Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers, Body systems, 2015, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx