How Exercise Relieves Stress
We all know how important exercise is for lowering our chance of disease and injury, but did you know that exercise is one of the best ways at reducing stress levels? Without costing a thing, stress can be managed with as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day, and at Live Life Get Active we want to help! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked about stress and exercise, and why it is so important.
Why should I use exercise to help my stress levels?
The big question: how does exercise help relieve your stress levels? It’s all to do with your brain! When you exercise, the brain releases its ‘happy hormones’ known as endorphins. These hormones act upon the whole body to make you feel great and contribute to what is commonly known as a ‘runners’ high’. Regular exercise means more endorphins around the body, and results in better brain function for the rest of the day.
Does it do anything else?
Yes! While these endorphins are being released, you also improve your stress levels through something known as ‘muscular meditation’. This describes the feeling of calm and clear-headedness that you get in the middle of aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming. This wipes away all the stressful thoughts of the day and is a great way to reset the brain and the body. Even better, regular exercise increases blood flow around the body, meaning that the muscles become healthier and more efficient.
What does this mean for me?
As a result of this chemical change in the brain, you will experience many (if not all) of the following benefits:
- More energy during the day
- An improved mood and mind-set
- Better self-confidence and enjoyment from exercise
- A better night’s sleep
- Less chance of injury and future stress
- A healthier heart and lungs
As you can see, exercise has so many advantages when it comes to the body and improving our stress levels, making us feel better for longer.
What are the best exercises for improving stress?
Whilst any form of regular physical activity is going to improve your stress levels and mood, there are a few key activities that you can try that will drastically reduce stress. These are walking, swimming, boxing and yoga. Check out Tracy’s Grounding yoga here. Walking and swimming are longer aerobic activities that result in muscular meditation, whilst also achieving the highest levels of endorphin release.
As many of you know, boxing, whilst a little more intense, is a great way to smash stress out of the park and leaves you feeling refreshed and clear minded. Finally, stretching and relaxing the muscles also results in endorphin release. The meditation that comes with these activities means that group activities like yoga, are fantastic at relaxing the mind and body at the same time.
All these activities are best when conducted outdoors, as the fresh air allows us to reduce our stress and relax our brain. Even if it is just a walk around the park for 20 minutes, any form of regular exercise will help smash stress levels, making sure we stay happier and healthier for longer.
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Live Life Get Active is a registered health promotion charity that offers FREE outdoor activity camps and wellbeing and nutritional programmes to help address obesity, diabetes and mental health. Our vision is to build fitter, healthier and happier communities right across Australia. Our in-park offering is supported by a comprehensive digital offering.