Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress

Monday December 30, 2013

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being.  It pumps up your endorphins.  Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.  After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.  As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through physical activity, you may find that it can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.

It improves your mood.  Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.  Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you with a few steps

Do what you love.  Any form of exercise can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress.  Pick your favorite activity to enjoy.  Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.

Find a friend.  Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive.  Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.

Change up your routine.  If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes.  Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try three 10-minute walks instead.  What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.