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How Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety
With everyday duties and responsibilities, sometimes, stress and anxiety are inevitable. However, if you notice that you are continually falling prey to stress and anxiety, there are simple steps you can take to relieve stress.
Some of those steps will not only help relieve stress and manage anxiety but also improve your overall health as well. Exercise is one of the best strategies to combat stress and manage anxiety. Physical activity helps lower your overall stress levels, improving your quality of life mentally and physically.
Regular exercise will have a positive effect on your mood by relieving anxiety, tension, mild depression, and anger, all of which go hand in hand with stress. Exercise will also improve your quality of sleep, which is often negatively impacted by stress, anxiety, and depression.
How physical activity helps with stress and anxiety
Exercise improves the body's blood flow by enhancing the ability to use oxygen. These changes also have a direct effect on the brain because it increases the production of endorphins. The coveted 'runner's high' is attributed to these feel-good neurotransmitters. Hence, endorphins are responsible for the sense of euphoria and well-being that people experience after a workout.
Exercise can also effectively help take your mind off worries. When working out, you tend to experience the same benefits of meditation because you tend to concentrate more on the rhythm of your body movements. Hence, the repetitive motions in workouts promote increased focus on the body instead of the mind.
Focusing on a physical task can help produce a sense of optimism and energy, providing clarity and calmness. This is why most people will notice an improvement in their mood after an exercise. If you remain committed to constant exercising, the feelings become cumulative.
On top of having a direct effect on your anxiety and stress levels, regular physical exercise will also promote your optimum health, which will help indirectly moderate your stress and anxiety levels as well. When your physical wellness and heart health is improved, you have less to stress about, and it improves your mental health as well.
Exercise also helps:
- Improve blood circulation
- Sleep better at night
- Strengthen immunity, decreasing risk of infection and illness
- Boost good cholesterol in the blood
- Improve ability to control weight
- Strength muscle and bones
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve your self-image
- Boost energy
How long do you need to exercise?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should purpose to get an average of 150 minutes moderate aerobic activity weekly, broken down into 30-minute workouts sessions five days a week. If you can't manage 30-minute sessions, you can divide them into 10-minute sessions.
According to the AHA, you should try and incorporate at least two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises in your weekly routine. Try and give all your major muscle groups, including your shoulders, arms, abdominals, legs, abdomen, and other core muscles a good workout.
If you are new to an exercise regime, you gradually build your physical activity levels. If your doctor suggests starting with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, a couple of days a week, you should gradually increase from there.
Exercises that help with stress and anxiety
You don't need to be an elite athlete or a marathon runner to experience stress relief; any activity will help. Consider trying these moderate aerobic exercises:
- Jogging or brisk walking
- Doing water aerobics or swimming
- Playing racquetball or tennis
For muscle-strengthening workouts, consider activities with resistance bands or weight lifting. Something as simple as choosing to take the stairs or gardening will go a long way in elevating your mood.
Any physical activity could be the remedy to reduce anxiety and help decrease your stress levels. We recommend trying a variety of exercises you enjoy because you are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if you're having fun.
About the author
Keith J. Myers is the Founder & Editor in Chief of the Hempire. He has overseen and directed the editorial growth and skill of this website since 2012. Before creating the Hempire, Keith was a writer and editor who covered topics in CBD, health, science, and wellness. His commitment to helping people naturally and safely improve their health has driven the Hempire to commit to quality and consumer transparency.
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