Everyone has stress. But can exercise make a difference? In this article, we’ll discuss the influence of exercise on stress reduction.
Exercise is a physical activity that involves moving our bodies to promote health and wellness. When done correctly, exercise is beneficial to the mind and body. Physical movement is powerful for our bodies. For example, it can strengthen the heart and other muscles and help us sustain and/or improve cardiovascular health. And it can even positively affect our mental health. So, yes, exercise can reduce stress!
What are things to know before starting exercise to reduce stress?
Always consult your physician before embarking on a new exercise routine. A doctor should provide a medical evaluation and discuss the types of exercise you are considering. Possible discussion points at your appointment:
- Your physical and mental health goals
- Your overall health & current health conditions
- Ways in which exercise can reduce stress
- Physical limitations (if any)
- Ways to lose weight healthfully while building strength
- Ways to exercise safely to avoid injury
What does stress do to the body?
Per American Psychologic Association, ongoing stress can increase the risk of hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Stress can negatively affect one’s quality of life and disrupt mood, emotions, diet, sleep, relationships, decision-making abilities, and more. Staying active can help combat stress that is bad for our bodies.
How can exercise help?
Cardio exercises, sometimes called aerobic exercises, get the blood pumping. Both increase oxygen intake and heart rate. Over time, this type of exercise ultimately contributes to strengthening the body and helps people maintain a healthy weight. Exercise nurtures a strong and fit body. It makes us feel well. This feeling of wellness fights stress. Exercise bumps up endorphins – the very hormones that make us feel happy, reduce stress, and block pain. Exercise also helps ease depression and anxiety per Mayo Clinic and can be a welcome distraction from worries.
Stress, especially long-term stress, is harmful to the body. Lack of exercise is also not healthy. Physical inactivity leads to unhealthy weight gain, poor bone and musculoskeletal health, poor mental health and well-being, increased risk of diseases and conditions, and more. It’s important to find creative ways to stay active. Exercise builds stronger bodies, supports the immune system, and ultimately makes us feel better through the release of endorphins. This feeling of wellness gained through regular workouts demonstrates that exercise can reduce stress.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a medical resource.