The Gen XY Lifestyle

Stress-Relief: The Role of Exercise in Stress Management

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There are several simple ways of relieving stress. Most of these steps are responsible for the improvement of your overall health as well. One of the best strategies to follow for countering stress is exercise. Physical activity leads to a lowering of the overall stress levels and it also improves your quality of life both physically and mentally.

Role of exercise in relieving stress

Any physical activity improves the capability of your body to use oxygen and it also leads to better blood flow. More significantly, both these things lead to a direct good effect on the brain. Exercise increases the production of endorphins in the brain. The endorphins are the neurotransmitters that are responsible for the “feel good” effect you feel and they also provide you with the much-desired “runners-high”. In simple terms, it is the sense of euphoria or wellbeing people receive after performing the exercise.

The physical activities take your mind off the day-to-day worries. Repetitive motions you perform during the exercise routine promote a focus on the body instead of that on the mind. If you can focus on the physical movements you will experience similar benefits to that of meditation. Concentrating on a single physical task produces a sense of optimism and increases energy levels apart from providing clarity and calmness.

Several people notice mood improvement after they have worked out. These good effects don’t end here. They are cumulative over time. In all probability, you will get a greater feeling of wellbeing when you are committed to an exercise routine consistently. Apart from the direct effect on the level of stress, regular exercising also promotes better health in other ways. Improvement in the overall health leads to moderation of stress levels indirectly. With an improvement in overall physical health, there are fewer reasons to feel stressed about.

Direct benefits of exercise in a nutshell

Apart from improving your overall health the exercise also helps in,

  • Strengthening the bones and muscles.
  • Improving immunity which leads to a lesser risk of infections and sickness.
  • Lowering of blood pressure. It can have the same effect as that of antihypertensive medicine in some cases.
  • Improves the good cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Boosts the energy level.
  • Provides better blood circulation.
  • Improves the capability to control weight.
  • Helps in getting better sleep at night.
  • Improves self-esteem.

Type of exercise required for relieving stress

There are several ways available to satisfy your weekly exercise target. How do you choose the best physical activity for your exercise? There is no need for you to be an elite athlete or a long-distance runner to achieve stress relief. Almost all kinds of exercises are useful in some way or the other. For instance, you can perform these moderate aerobic exercises such as,

  • Jogging or brisk walking.
  • Biking. Furthermore, if your health is in any way compromised, you can opt for an e pedal-assisted ride, through an electric bike.
  • Water aerobics or swimming.
  • Rowing.
  • Dancing.
  • Playing racquetball or tennis.

Consult your doctor first

When you are completely out of shape or if you are new to working out, it is a good idea to consult your doctor for guidance about the kind of exercise right for you. Doctors can help you develop an effective and safe exercise routine while taking into account your fitness level and the conditions you are suffering from. Also, discuss the intensity levels of the exercises with your doctor before beginning. It’s worth mentioning that for some health-compromised demographics, while the world of medicine has greatly evolved to alleviate symptoms of chronic illnesses, such as, LDN for fibromyalgia, or other medical inventions, it’s important to note that cycling is a great activity that helps the ones with compromised health, to keep it active, fight the lethargy associated with illness and old age, and enjoy an effortless ride through electric biking.

Keep in mind that any kind of exercise will improve your fitness and help with stress management.

But, it is important to select an activity that you enjoy rather than fear. If you do not enjoy going near water never opt for swimming as a form of exercise. If the thoughts of running results in making you anxious do not opt to train for a 5-kilometer race. You can also combine the activities till you have found the most enjoyable one.

Editor’s note: Singapore has guidelines in the prescription of strong painkillers issued in 2013. It is important to be familiar with the guidelines and raise questions or issues with your doctor prior to starting on the prescription.

Article contributed by Miranda Mirany.

Miranda studied Psychology at the University of Florida and is now working as a psychologist. She has a big passion to read a lot of different books and she loves writing. In her free time, she loves outdoor activities and she is a fitness lover. You can connect with Miranda on Linkedin.

Picture credit: Photo by Alex Shaw on Unsplash