How Regular Exercise Can Help You Manage Your Stress Levels
Virtually all forms of exercise have the ability to significantly reduce your stress levels. Exercise is not only great for your health, but also for your state of mind.
Taking Care of Your Body is Good for Your Mind
Your general health is dependent on the state of your whole being, this means body, mind and soul. Exercise is essential to ensuring your body is healthy and able to cope with your daily demands, whether you sit at your desk, look after toddlers, or are in charge of load shedding schedules in South Africa. Physical activity does not only prevent major disease conditions, but also helps you stay independent to a ripe old age.
Your body is your temple, your holy place, you only get one. So if you want to stay healthy, stay in control, stay independent, 'cause remember you might live to a 110, then take care of yourself, start with the things you can easily do - exercise, meditate, eat healthy. This doesn’t mean you need to run marathons to reduce stress and have a healthy body and mind. Even low impact or moderate aerobic exercise regularly will have a positive effect on the way you feel, both physically and mentally. The key here is regularly, it means most days of the week, and secondly - it must be a minimum of 20 minutes to reap those feel-good-benefits.
Up the Endorphins
Exercise creates a chemical change in your brain. Endorphins are the feel good hormone released during exercise, this is what people experience as “runner’s high” during intense exercise (not only running). This sense of happiness and often euphoria is the appeal that exercise has for many people, apart from the fact that it is essential to good health. The endorphins released by exercise is a healthy and effective way to quickly treat feelings of stress and even depression.
Studies have shown that exercise can work quickly to alleviate a depressed mood in most people for a long period afterwards. The spike of endorphins reduce stress and make you feel good after exercising, that can have a long term effect, should you be doing your exercises regularly.
Physical activity can help us reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies. Cortisol is what peaks during extreme stress to ensure you respond as best as possible to a “fight or flight” situation. Unfortunately, this stress response is common even if you are not in immediate danger, which is detrimental to your health.
Exercise can reduce cortisol, but regular exercise has the ability to decrease the amount of cortisol released in response to stressors. This means that exercise has the power to make you more efficient at managing and handling physical stress.
Exercise is more than physical, its meditation in action
Change the way you view exercise, it doesn't have to be the sweaty, jumpy, pushing weights in a predominantly male environment, that will hopefully interest you long enough to have some physical benefit. No! - rather see it as a therapy session, an active meditation, where you get to be in tune with your physical self, where the physical benefits are added bonuses. Take this time to meditate, be in your body clear your thoughts, concentrate on what you are doing and allow yourself to feel each movement, you'll soon begin to love the physical you and benefit in more than one way.