People have been dealing with stress throughout human history, but the modern world makes it particularly hard for a lot of individuals to cope. Fortunately, the key to overcoming stress might be far simpler than you think: Regular exercise can work wonders for keeping your stress levels under control.
The Biology Behind Exercise
It’s probably no surprise to you that regular exercise can be a powerful stress-buster. Are you curious about the science behind the phenomenon, though? There are three critical ways that exercise helps you overcome stress.
First, a brief workout promotes the production of several vital hormones (e.g. endorphins) that regulate your neurological system. At a biological level, stress does real damage to your brain and nerves. Exercising regularly helps you to heal and get back to normal.
Second, proper exercise activates your entire body and your brain. It forces all of your different systems (nervous, cardiovascular, renal, muscular) to work together. This burst of activity helps “train” your body to operate more efficiently. That doesn’t just translate into fitness and health. It also helps you cope with stress better on a biological level.
Finally, there’s a counterintuitive chemical reaction brought on by exercise that helps you fight stress. Exercising strenuously produces cortisol. This is the same hormone your body secretes when you’re placed in stressful situations. How can this be a good thing? Because regular exercise teaches your body how to manage cortisol levels better and bring them down to normal faster.
Combatting Anxiety Disorders
The long-term effects of frequent stress are easily seen when you look at the skyrocketing number of people suffering from anxiety disorders like depression. This is a problem that’s often just as much biological as psychological and regular exercise can be a potent weapon for fighting these disorders.
Today doctors frequently recommend regular exercise (and not necessarily strenuous exercise) to patients who are suffering from anxiety problems. Even something as simple as a 10-minute walk can have a dramatic positive effect on your mood and help you purge unwanted stress from your system.
Getting In Touch With The World And Yourself
As noted above, exercise is great mood-lifter as well as being a stress-buster. This is particularly important in the modern world because of its many intellectually demanding yet physically passive activities. Putting yourself in motion helps you step back from the fast pace of modern life and retune yourself with more important concerns.
For those who are naturally extroverted, exercise can help form social bonds. Participating in classes and other group activities allows them to unwind and reconnect on a face-to-face level. If you’re a more introverted type, exercise still delivers a great deal of value. The chance to focus on yourself exclusively rather than the demands of the outside world can bring you a meditative form of peace.
Where To Begin
If you’re convinced that getting more exercise will help you deal with stress, don’t worry about the upfront requirements. You don’t need to invest in hundreds of dollars of equipment, join a gym, or learn a set of complicated athletic skills before you can experience the reduced levels of stress you’re looking for.
The best way to begin is to start off modestly. Based on your current level of fitness, select an activity that won’t be too taxing (walking, jogging, cycling) and commit to doing it for thirty minutes three to five times a week. Don’t worry about achieving particular goals; in order to keep stress at bay, it’s more important to make regular exercise a habit. You can always make your exercise routine more ambitious as your level of fitness improves.
The great thing about using exercise as a tool to manage stress is that it has so many ancillary benefits to offer you. It improves your general health, gives you more energy, makes you more fit, and even helps you look better. If you’re sick and tired of being laid low by stress, take action by starting up a modest exercise regimen today!
Marilyn Reid is a successful business owner and natural health enthusiast. She owns a site, TarunaOils.org, which is dedicated to providing tips, ideas, and recipes for use with essential oils and aromatherapy