Stressed Out? Why Regular Exercise Should Be Part of Your Stress Relief Plan
With so many things to do, it might seem like adding yet another activity— regular exercise sessions—would be counter-intuitive. But the stress-relieving benefits of exercise make it well worth the time spent.
Here Are 4 Ways Regular Exercise Can Help Reduce Stress:
1. Endorphins: Your Brain's Natural Mood Boosters
You’ve probably heard about “post-workout bliss” or a “runner’s high.” This boost of positive feelings comes fromendorphins, the brain’s feel-good transmitters that are released during physical activity.
But did you know that this positive effect can also become cumulative and grow over time? If you stick with a regular exercise routine, chances are you’ll notice increased feelings of well-being that last even after you’ve left the gym.
2. Physical Activity "Gets You Out of Your Head"
Physical activity can help take your mind off your worries. The repetitive motions involved in exercise—whether it’s a series of yoga movements or swimming laps around the pool— keep your mind focused on the movement of your body….and OFF that hamster-wheel of stressful thoughts.
By concentrating on the rhythm of your movements, you can even experience many of the benefits of meditation while working out, such as increased focus and calm. Making this part of your regular routine can help improve your overall alertness and concentration, which stress tends to deplete.
3. Fitness Goals Help You Take Control & Gain Confidence
When life feels like it’s spinning out of control, physical activity can help you take back the reigns, giving you a sense of command over your body and life. You have the power to set your personal goals.
The sense of accomplishment you gain from finishing a tough workout or meeting a fitness goal is also a great confidence-booster, which you can carry with you to other aspects of your life.
4. Exercise Helps Promote Healthy, Restorative Sleep
Sleep is critical for recharging our bodies and minds...especially when stress drains our reserves. Unfortunately, stress can prevent or disrupt healthy sleep, robbing us of the very thing we need to feel better.
Regular exercise helps you relax and improves sleep quality, giving mind and body a much-needed time of restoration.
What type of exercise is best for stress relief?
When it comes to stress-relieving exercise, you may immediately think of meditative exercise like yoga or tai-chi. These are outstanding choices for stress relief, but they are not your only options.
The best physical activity for stress relief is something you ENJOY. It could be running, walking, weight-lifting, cardio, you name it. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it and reap the long-term benefits.
Make exercise part of your routine to enjoy a greater sense of well-being, less stress, and more energy to take on those crazy days!
How do you de-stress? Which exercises work best for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.