Does Exercise Help Stress?

The world today is filled with crazy, helter-skelter activity and pressures that hit you from every side. Whether you’re at work, driving down the road, milling about town, or even in your home, it seems that situations constantly arise that heap on more stress.

The problem with stress is that under its prolonged exposure, you can develop numerous side effects which disrupt normal life and even cause health problems. Stress can affect your body, causing headaches, muscle pain, low sex drive, sleep disorders, stomach ulcers and more. Stress can affect your mood by causing anxiety, irritability, depression, lethargy, etc. Stress can also affect behavior by causing you to over-eat or under-eat, withdraw from social activity, lash out in rage, abuse drugs and alcohol and other damaging personality disorders.

With so many negative, life-changing symptoms and problems produced by stress, it makes sense to find ways to alleviate it in order to maintain a pleasant quality of life.

Exercise and Stress

Many people turn to prescription drugs in order to combat the debilitating effects that stress creates in their lives. Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) are a couple of the common drugs used to alleviate the physical, emotional and psychological disorders brought on by continued exposure to stressful situations. However, a variety of studies have shown that regular exercise can be just as effective at relieving stress as medication.

Exercise produces numerous positive attributes not only on the body, but also the mind and emotions. For this reason, weight training and aerobic workout exercises are at the top of the list of most medical establishments for reducing stress.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise is beneficial at elevating your sense of well-being and improving your overall health. Workouts provide the following benefits:

Exercise releases endorphins

Any form of physical exercise triggers the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are responsible for giving you a sensation of feeling good. Commonly referred to as a “runner’s high”, endorphin production is also released through other activities such as a swim in the pool, game of racquetball, or an invigorating hike along a nature trail.

Exercise elevates mood

It’s well known that regular exercise increases one’s view of themselves through self-confidence.Looking and feeling better provides an “I can do all things” attitude. However, working out also alleviates anxiety and mild depression, and improves your ability to sleep more soundly. All these benefits provided through a regular exercise routine give you better control over your life.

Exercise is a form of meditation

An intense workout forces you to focus on the movements which your body is making. As you delve into an exercise program, you find that you forget about the day’s problems and stresses which, in turn, produces optimism, not to mention extra energy via the workout. Regular exercise allows you to clear you mind, regain your inner peace and better deal with the issues at hand.

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