Exercise can play a big part in relieving stress and anxiety. Studies show that regular exercise reduces stress hormones like cortisol, as well as blood pressure amongst many other positive things.
If you’re feeling stressed out or anxious, here are four ways exercise can help relieve those feelings:
1. It boosts your body’s natural endorphins:
Endorphins are the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals that reduce pain and produce feelings of pleasure. Exercise can release endorphins which make you feel good about yourself, so it can be helpful for relieving stress or anxiety.
2. It decreases cortisol levels:
Cortisol is a hormone that helps regulate glucose levels in blood but also increases blood pressure and makes us feel more stressed out or anxious. Exercise helps decrease cortisol levels so that it doesn’t have such an impact on our bodies and minds while we’re trying to relax and unwind after a hard day at work.
3. Exercise gets you out of your mind and into your body
Being able to take a break from your thinking mind and get into your body can be such a relief for many people. When you are stressed out or anxious, it’s easy to get caught up in your thoughts or to-do lists and you can feel like you’re not in control. Exercise forces you to stop thinking and focus on what is happening right now — this moment. It helps bring your attention back to the present moment and calms those racing so that you are in your body and not in your mind.
4. Exercise can help you sleep better
Being more active throughout the day will leave your body feeling more tired and relaxed, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer as your body naturally pushes you to sleep. The more sleep you get, the more energy you have the next day, making exercise easier – creating a positive cycle for your wellbeing.
We all know that exercise is “good for you”, but being able to dive into the physiological aspects and viewing exercise as an act of mindfulness can be highly motivating. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and has a positive impact on your overall well being. The key is to be consistent, even if you can manage just 5 minutes a day, taking those steps to build a new healthy habit will have a huge effect on your ability to manage your stress in the long run.
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