Exercise And Stress: Everything You Need To Know
In this article, we’ll discuss how exercise and stress are linked; along with some powerful benefits exercising that help deal with stress.
You feel tired all day. Work doesn’t interest you anymore. Your productivity has taken a severe hit recently. You feel like you have lost all motivation. All these points are indicative of one thing. Stress. If you are experiencing all these symptoms, there’s a good chance you’re chronically stressed. Moreover, stress has also made you put on a few pounds.
Concerned about how to get your act together? The answer is simple. Exercise!
Exercise is a great stress buster and at the same time, keeps you in shape. Why do athletes and celebrities focus so much on their exercise regimes? The same reason as above.
Exercise not only improves one’s mood and physical health but also mental health. Intense physical activities like weightlifting and sprinting are known to improve mood, cognition, and focus. Many studies have also been conducted over the years to back this fact. Therefore, you should make some time for exercise if you struggle with stress issues.
Benefits of Exercising When Stressed
Conclusive evidence from various studies supports the fact that one must exercise for stress relief. It has also been verified in certain clinical trials involving endurance athletes. Regular exercise can help patients in overcoming clinical depression and stress. If endurance athletes can tackle their mental health issues through exercise, then you are no exception.
Exercise stimulates the brain to secrete more of endorphins. Endorphins are said to be the ‘feel-good’ hormones. They also act as natural painkillers. An increase in the endorphin levels makes you feel elated and clear. Adding to that the physical benefits of exercise, it increases your sense of overall well being. This will help you to tackle depression.
2. Reduce Cortisol And Adrenaline
High levels of stress increase the secretion of cortisol. It is also known as the ‘stress hormone’. Cortisol harms your cognition and other important mental skills like the ability to focus and retrieve memories. Stress also induces the production of adrenaline. High amounts of adrenaline increase the heart rate and damages the blood vessels. Cortisol also induces anxiety which affects productivity.
Exercise improves this condition by promoting blood flow to the brain. Optimal blood flow to the brain provides it with much-needed oxygen, consequently improving brain function. Improved brain function leads to clarity and improved focus. These improvements help you take your concentration away from worries, whilst adding to your productivity.
3. Mental Discipline
For intense exercises like weightlifting to be effective, one requires discipline. This also helps one achieve a sense of pride and mastery. When you lift weights, you are repetitively doing one movement, progressing over time. This continued action over a few months imbibes discipline and improves focus. In this way, you can better tackle the task at hand.
Discipline is a crucial element for achieving your goals. When you start to accomplish your goals steadily, you get a sense of achievement. This increases your dopamine levels, making you happy and motivating you to go further.
4. Increased Energy
Your strength and stamina multiply when you exercise regularly. This helps you to tackle a lot of physically demanding tasks with relative ease. Along with that, an improved physique boosts your self-confidence. When you look good, you feel good. Your newfound energy and vigor will help you to succeed in plenty of endeavors. In this manner, you will be able to keep stress at bay.
5. Increased Overall Health
Exercise brings a lot of physiological benefits along with it. Improved muscle and bone health, stronger heart and lungs, and increased agility are just some of them. Your overall well being is enriched due to exercise. And, as it is widely said – A sound mind resides in a sound body. Your stress and overall mental health start to improve as you exercise.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
Unless you are a competing athlete or a bodybuilder, 30 minutes of exercise daily should be sufficient for you. Experts also recommend engaging in intense muscle-building activities, at least twice a week. Activities of this nature include weightlifting and calisthenics (bodyweight exercises).
As far as meeting the daily exercise requirement is concerned, you can take up any physical activity. It could be joining the gym or going for a yoga class. Having a good session of your favorite outdoor sports will also suffice. You should focus on getting 30 minutes of exercise for five days a week, at the least.
Things To Keep In Mind
You’re ready to get up early and start exercising now. Although you should meet your doctor first. At the end of the day, exercise also exerts stress on your body. Consulting your doctor would help you select the right kind of exercise.
Here are some of the precautions relating to exercising:
- Always perform the necessary warm-up exercises before you begin your exercise session. Accordingly, perform required cool-down exercises after you’ve completed your workout. This will reduce the risk of muscle injury or sprains.
- Always wear comfortable clothes when exercising. Wear shoes that provide ample support to your heels and foot arches.
- Refrain from any intense exercise like High-Intensity Sprints if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Abstain from lifting heavy loads if you have any issues with your back, slip disc for instance.
- You lose a lot of water and salts when exercising. Keep on drinking small amounts of water throughout your exercise session. This will prevent dehydration.
- Avoid exercising in extremely hot and humid weather. You run the risk of heatstroke.
- Be aware of over-exertion. It increases the risk of injuries to the bones and muscles.
Exercise is something a lot of us abhor. However, there are a select few who look forward to it every morning. But why? It is because they know the benefits exercise brings. And if you are someone who has been facing issues with stress and weight management lately, exercise is certainly something you should put yourself to. Although, you should follow the above-mentioned precautions for safety during your workout sessions.
To start exercising is tough. But once you start seeing the results for yourself, it translates to a necessity.
June 19, 2020 Sam Bell