Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. It seems contradictory, but putting physical stress on the body via exercise, can actually relieve mental stress.
Benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. Those who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise. Let us explore how.
You don’t always have to do it alone. Interacting with others, whether at the gym or in a group, helps release some of the negativity associated with stress. Being around like-minded people who are probably experiencing the same day to day stress as you can make you feel less alone in your problems.
We are social beings. Grow your social circle while on your jogging route, sign up to a gym like GymNation, or join a sports team. Having more energy to spend time with friends and family can increase your social health too.
2. Survival Mode
Your body is naturally designed to react to a stressful situation. Today’s stress doesn’t require that we physically go out and fight (unless you’re a boxer), but the body still produces these chemicals for it, leaving you feeling antsy and stressed out. Going out and getting some exercise can relieve this feeling.
3. Zone Out
For a few minutes or hours every day, you can zone out and just focus on your body. Repetitive motions involved in exercise helps you to focus on your body rather than your worries.
You can get many of the same benefits as meditation while working out by concentrating on the rhythm of your movements. Focusing on a single task can produce a sense of energy and optimism, which can help provide calm and clarity. It may also help fight depression.
4. Feel Good, Be Happy
Exercise isn’t just good for the body, it’s also good for your mental health. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain killers. Long periods of moderate to high-intensity workouts increase the release of these endorphins, leaving you with an overall light and upbeat feeling, which would then resonate to a good mood.
5. Better Sleep
For those who haven’t exercised in a while, you probably noticed your body crashes at the end of the day. The more restful your sleep is, the more likely you are to be alert and energized the following day, even if you didn’t get in many hours of sleep.
Most of us rely on the cup of coffee to get our day started, but cutting back on caffeine can actually help give you a better night’s sleep. Quality is better than quantity in this sense.
6. Interacting Body Systems
While in a state of stress, your body systems need to interact with each other in order to manage stress properly. Exercise helps these systems practice this interaction in a healthy way.
For example, when you run, you are using not only your muscles but your respiratory and circulatory systems as well. They are learning to work together. So when you encounter a stressor later in the week, your body is better prepared to handle it.
7. Feel Good About Yourself
Having a positive image of yourself can help boost your confidence and self esteem. Regular exercise can keep you fit and healthy especially when you get that body you always wanted.
Regular exercise can better your overall health and may indirectly help moderate your stress levels. By improving your physical wellness, you’ll have less to feel stressed about. Exercise won’t remove the source of your stress, but it’ll make it much easier to deal with.