Staying active and exercising is good for everyone of all ages and it provides a number of health benefits that not only affect physical capabilities but mental functioning as well. In fact, there is evidence showing that exercise can be an effective way to reduce the symptoms of depression. Along with helping with mental health problems and regulating weight, exercise is a great stress reliever.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly any form of exercise, whether it’s sports, yoga, weight lifting, can be an effective stress reliever. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or if you’re not in great shape, being active can be a good way to manage stress.
Increasing overall health and well-being can help make you feel better physically and can be a great way to improve mood.
Physical activity and exercise helps to increase the production of endorphins, the brain’s neurotransmitters associated with euphoria and good feelings, and play a big role in how the body handles stress. For example, when exercising, many people get a euphoric feeling, many refer to this as a “runner’s high” but can happen with all types of exercises.
Exercise As Therapy
Exercise can be a therapeutic and cathartic experience. A high-intensity sports game, or several seconds of sprinting can lead you to forgetting about the daily stress and irritations as you focus solely on the task in front of you.
Along with getting the endorphins flowing in the body, exercise can be helpful in increasing self-confidence and relaxation.
It is important to remember how effective exercise can be for dealing with stress, especially since stress has shown to impede someone’s efforts to be more physically active and actually promotes many negative health behaviors, including drug and alcohol use.
For a lot of people, starting to exercise is the hardest part, a lot of people may not know exactly how to begin. The best way to start is starting off slow and working your way up to a full-blown workout. For instance, if you are weightlifting, you don’t want to be too sore the next day to discourage you from going again.
Another way to stay engaged at the gym or other physical activity is to find someone to go with. Finding an active friend who is also trying to get or stay healthy is a good way to hold yourself and the other person accountable. Working out with someone else can also provide the motivation and competitiveness even to advance yourself to go above and beyond what your think you are capable of.
For some people who may not be physically able to workout for long periods of time, just going for short intervals is one way to still get the benefits of exercise without overexerting yourself. For instance, participating in a short 10-minute walks is a good way to get started on a physical exercise plan without biting off more than you can chew.
Overall, it doesn’t matter how exactly you get started, but just by starting a plan and sticking to it, you will likely notice a big change in how you feel when it comes to stress and relaxation.
Everyone deals with stress, whether it’s work, family troubles, or other issues like drug or alcohol addiction, and it can interfere with daily life.
Work and social life can be obvious stressors for everyone, but exercise is a great way to handle with this stress.
Addiction specifically is one of the most difficult problems to deal with, it is a disease that affects everyone in the vicinity of it. However, exercise can be great during a patient’s path to recovery. According to one study, “Exercise [can] serve as an alternative, non-drug reinforcer, and decrease comorbid risk factor associated with substance use has been demonstrated assays”.
At the end of the day, exercise is one of the best things that you can do to take care of your body. Not only will it provide obvious physical benefits like weight regulation, cardiovascular health, and disease prevention, it also leads to a number of positive mental and psychological effects.