How to reduce stress through exercise

Subscribe to the CNN Fitness, But Better Newsletter series. Our seven-part expert-backed guide will help you make a healthy lifestyle easier.


These days, most people find it difficult to unplug. Inflation, global warming and gun violence are on the rise. Bullies abound on social media. The 24/7 news cycle constantly brings sad news, and people often face difficult personal or professional situations.

About half of Americans say they have experienced stress in the past day, a Gallup poll Since last October, for most of the year

Richard Scrivener, personal trainer and product development manager at London-based education technology company Trainfitness, says stress isn’t inherently bad. Tension through your muscles Weight trainingFor example, it leads to important changes. In addition, short-term stress in healthy people is usually not dangerous. “But if stress is persistent, especially in older or unhealthy individuals, the long-term effects of the stress response can lead to serious health problems,” Scrivener said.

Stress comes when you’re faced with a new, unknown or threatening situation, and you don’t know if you’ll be able to manage it successfully, says clinical psychologist Dr. Carmel Choi, assistant professor at the Center for Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

When you are under physical or emotional stress, your body goes into fight or flight mode. Cortisol rushes through your system, signaling your body to release glucose. Glucose, in turn, gives your muscles energy so you’re better prepared to fight or run away from danger. With this cortisol rush, your heart rate may increase, your breathing becomes faster, and you may feel dizzy or nauseous.

If you really want to fight or run away from a predator, your cortisol levels will drop back after the conflict is over. But when you’re chronically stressed, those levels stay elevated.

High levels of cortisol can worsen health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic gastrointestinal problems, so it’s not good to stay at that high level, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Stress It can also cause or contribute to anxiety, anger, poor sleep, substance abuse, chronic insecurity or anxiety, and more.

Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with stress. Maintain a regular exercise routine, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, and limit your time watching the news or engaging in social media, he advises. World Health Organization. It also helps to stay in touch with others and use calming practices Meditation and deep breathing. One of the most successful tools is physical activity.

Get stress relief by exercising outdoors.  Spending time in nature can improve mental and physical health, according to research.

“Exercise is incredibly effective at managing psychological stress,” Choi said. Exercise doesn’t eliminate the cause of stress, but it increases mood, reduces stress, and improves sleep—all of which are affected by stress—and ultimately, this helps people approach their challenges in a more balanced way.

Many studies support the positive effects of exercise on stress. Exercise, and especially physical activity, significantly reduced anxiety symptoms a Research For example, published in pre-medicine and biology. Similarly, a Frontiers in psychological research University students were found to regularly engage in low- to moderate-intensity exercise. Aerobic exercises It helped relieve symptoms of depression and perceived anxiety for six weeks.

the reason Exercise is very effective It is very easy to suppress stress. Exercise causes your body to produce more endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that boost your mood. Exercise fights elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol while improving blood flow.

Aerobic exercise, such as running, dancing, and boxing, releases many feel-good endorphins that relieve stress.  But so does gentle exercise like walking.

Jessica Honig, a clinical social worker in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, says exercise energizes her clients because they hold the key to resetting and reducing their stress through movement. “It’s also one of the best ways to pause — to recharge or re-energise from a whirling and productive mind,” she said.

What types of exercise are best? Research shows that aerobic exercise like swimming, running, dancing and boxing can be just as effective at getting mood-enhancing endorphins running through your body, as can gentle exercise. Think yoga, strength training and walking. In addition, sometimes it is less.

“What we’re seeing from the data is that you need to take less than the recommended guidelines,” Choi said Positive effects on moodHe said.

Because stress loads can fluctuate weekly or even daily, Scrivener says it’s important to vary your exercise routine based on your mood. 8 On a scale of 1 to 10, do you feel happy? Then go for a run. Hardly hit 3? Choose something soft. “This could be a 15-minute stretch followed by a 15-minute light cycle or a 30-minute swim followed by a sauna session,” he said.

Because social engagement is a powerful protective factor for positive mental health, Choi encourages physical activity with others. Studies have also shown. Being in nature It boosts your mood, so exercising outdoors with friends can provide even more benefits.

Combine exercise and social activity by planning a regular exercise routine with a neighbor or joining a class.

Scientists continue to study the relationship between stress and physical activity. A A little research A recently published study found that combining mindfulness and exercise can improve sleep and help control emotions, rather than either alone, Choi said. She also cautioned that people should be careful not to overextend themselves with exercise or rely solely on coping with challenges. Doing so can backfire and cause more stress.

It’s also important to remember that people are ready to release stress physically, regardless of age, says social worker Honig. “We see children’s permission to throw their bodies into the pillow to release their emotions,” she said. “We don’t develop a desire to physically release stress. All we lose is the outlet and the social normality.

Melanie Radzicki McManus He is a freelance writer specializing in hiking, travel and fitness.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *