How Does Exercise Help Beat Stress?
Before we talk about exercise for stress relief, let’s begin by talking about what types of things cause stress. There are many things that can cause stress. Anything from work to family situations and beyond. For example working long hours, being unhappy in your current position and losing a job can cause stress. The death of someone in your family, an upcoming marriage or divorce, sick family members, etc. can also be stressors. Everyone copes with these situations differently.
Exercise to the Rescue
Exercising helps combat stress by lowering levels of adrenaline and cortisol, and stimulates the production of endorphins (chemicals in the brain and the body’s natural painkillers) to help improve your mood. Many people suffering from stress often ask what kind of exercise works best to help reduce it.
My answer is pretty much any type of exercise up to medium intensity can help beat stress (I don’t know about you but I don’t think high intensity truly helps reduce stress). I personally like to hop on the mini trampoline in the middle of my morning/day since I work from home. It’s like a quick mental health boost. It doesn’t take long to feel the stress slip away.
A short 15-20 minute workout like the mini trampoline, a brisk walk or dancing can really clear your mind and help reduce stress. Not to mention you can get back to what you were doing with a clear head and accomplish so much more. At least that’s what I have experienced. Swimming and strength training helps too. In fact, I hear strength training is one of the best exercises to reduce cortisol levels.
If you work outside of the home, try to take a few breaks during the day to walk some stairs, do some lunges, quick things like that will help. An office dance party sounds like fun too!
Here are more ways to fight stress.
While regular exercising works to reduce the level of stress, other types of exercises can have a calming effect like this breathing exercise.
Simple steps to practice deep breathing:
1. Breathe in slowly and deeply pulling in as much air as you can.
2. Hold your breath briefly.
3. Exhale slowly.
4. Repeat the entire sequence five to 10 times, concentrating on deep and slow breathing.
When you start to feel stress sneak up on you, try the deep breathing steps above until you can get some exercise in.
Try yoga to help manage stress. It will help with your breathing AND is a good workout. If only I could balance better *wink*
You may not be able to control the source of stress but you can definitely manage it. Exercising can help alleviate mental feelings of discomfort like anger, depression and anxiety. Plus don’t forget the deep breathing exercises.
What are some exercises you do when dealing with stressful situations?