You may have heard that regular exercise can help lower stress levels and fight anxiety and depression. But how does exercise help you feel less stressed, and what are the best types of exercise to combat stress? Read on to find out more about how getting active can help keep mental and emotional pressure at bay.
How does exercise relieve stress?
During most stressful situations, you may notice that you’re affected mentally, emotionally and physically. You may struggle to concentrate, have difficulty sleeping, lose your appetite and overreact to things that wouldn’t normally bother you.
It might seem strange that putting a strain on your body when you exercise could help you overcome stress, but regular exercise can actually reduce the body’s stress hormone (cortisol) and release feel-good hormones called endorphins. Plus, it can also help you sleep better. Research has found that people that make exercise a part of their lives are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
What types of exercise can help reduce stress?
From car trouble to toddler’s tantrums, it can be difficult to avoid stressful situations in the first place. However, keeping active can help you manage stress more effectively whilst improving your fitness levels. Although taking part in any exercise you enjoy can help you cope with tension and anxiety, certain forms may be more effective. Some of these include:
Get your trainers on and run out the door to soothe your nerves and clear your mind. Studies have shown that going for a long run a few times a week can improve feelings of stress and anxiety in the long-run. Not only will you be able to release your frustrations, running gets your heart pumping, burns calories and it doesn’t cost a penny.
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This ancient practice aims to balance the body and mind using breathing techniques and gentle movements. Evidence suggests that yoga can also reduce anxiety by reducing symptoms of stress such as increased cortisol levels and a quicker heart rate. Some studies have even reported that yoga could work as well as antidepressant medications to treat depression.
There are several different types of yoga but certain forms focus on relaxing stretching that can take away your stresses.
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Taking a leisurely stroll each day is a great way to take your mind off any pressures you’re dealing with. If you’re able to walk through the countryside or a park, that’s even better. Evidence suggests that walking in a natural area for 90 minutes could reduce your risk of developing depression.
Dive into your local swimming pool to tackle stress and ease mental strains after a long day. Whether you choose to push yourself with a few fast-paced laps or glide along at a slower speed, the mental focus you need to be able to swim through the water can help you forget about the problems troubling your mind.
Studies carried out on swimmers discovered that they experienced a more positive frame of mind and felt less tense.
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Most forms of exercise can boost your mood and your health, and there are many easy ways to fit exercise into a hectic lifestyle. Working out can take your mind away from everyday problems and help to ease stress.
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