How Moving Your Body Everyday and Having a Regular Exercise Routine Helps to Manage Stress

Moving your body each and every day has a wide scope of benefits from improving your mood and mental health, to increasing your strength, stamina, flexibility, and overall improving your physical health. One of the most beneficial aspects of bodily movement and regular exercise is that is helps to manage your stress level. This post will focus on why high stress levels are problematic and how exercise can help you manage and improve your stress levels.

Why is Stress Problematic?

Any stressful situation whether it be environmental, physical, or psychological can trigger a stress response leading to a cascade of stress hormones which cause physiological changes in the body. This of how when you are stressed at work or even think back to school when you were stressed taking a test and you could feel your heart pounding, your muscles tensing, or your hands clamming up. This stress response with what is generally referred to as “fight or flight.” While this used to serve our more primal ancestors well it now causes us to overreact to everyday stresses such as being stuck in traffic, work concerns, family dynamics, or even just what to wear sometimes. These unwanted situations cause an unwarranted stress response that can lead to stress on the body and have the potential to cause health concerns. There are several studies that suggest that chronic stress may lead to obesity, anxiety, depression, and even addition amongst other things.

How is Stress Caused?

Unfortunately, many things can lead to unhealthy amounts of stress. As an adult with a naughty and nice sized list of responsibilities it is far too easy to be exposed to stress in large amounts and fairly quickly too. Some of the common causes of stress include:

Pressure: While a little pressure can be beneficial under certain circumstances, too much will quickly turn into stress. While we often think of pressure as something that is inflicted upon us by others, pressure can be self-induced. Internal pressures being pessimism, negative-self talk, rigid thinking, perfectionism, or an all-or-nothing attitude. External pressures may be your working conditions, the need to perform in school, consuming an inadequate diet, or many personal lifestyle factors.

Have Too Many Responsibilities: Having responsibilities is unavoidable but you are able to control how many you have to some degree. People often tout minimalism as a cure-all but in this regard, it certainly does help as the less stuff you have the less you have to clean and take care of thereby relieving some of the daily burden of household responsibilities. Another way to reduce responsibilities is to reduce how much you are committed to by not saying yes to everything. Be selective with your time and you will limit the number of commitments in the process.

Uncertainty: When the world is rapidly changing and you are just left doing your best to understand what is going on, it can become extremely stressful. This does have to be to the extreme of a world-wide pandemic but even just not knowing the next steps to take in your career, or a move could also bring up these feelings of uncertainty. Really there are so many reasons to feel uncertain.

How Exercise Help Manage Stress

There are several ways moving your body and exercise help to reduce stress. Prolonged stress raises cortisol levels for the long haul which in turn can lead to inflammation and a whole host of other health implications. Exercise or any prolonged bodily movement can aid with reducing cortisol levels. Moving your body for the sake of it opposed to a desired outcome will also help to improve your mental health in my experience. For many years, like many others, I worked out with an outcome in mind, these days I exercise or just move my body for mental clarity or just because I enjoy it. Regular exercise can also help strengthen your muscle, reduce weight, and tone your body all of which can help you to feel more confident. Feeling strong personally has helped my self-confidence and with boosted self-confidence it can in turn reduce stress. Lastly, exercise doesn’t have to be done alone. In fact, I have found that working out with a friend or even in a class setting is a mood booster and stress buster in itself.

As always, I hope you have a happy and wholesome day!


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