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Exercise as a Stress Relief Strategy

sunsetexercise_wThere are several reasons one should exercise. The most popular perhaps is weight loss. But exercise is also closely linked to stress management. Here are the reasons exercise is a great stress reliever:

Exercise is a good diversion from life’s stress. Work, school, relationships and career can be stressful. Physical activity helps take your mind off your problems and stressful situations, refreshes your thoughts, gathers your senses, and gives you a change of scenery.

It is a good outlet for frustration. Annoyed? Angry? Frustrated? Forms of exercise such as martial arts, boxing, wrestling, and other sports like mountain biking, basketball, baseball and soccer, provide a place to release your negative emotions, turning these unhealthy emotions into motivation to improve health, strength and well-being.

It reduces stress hormones. A stressed person has high levels of stress hormones. With regular exercise, the stress hormones like cortisol decreases and “happy chemicals”, endorphins, increase giving the body its natural positive boost.

It improves health. You probably know this already but the point has to be clear. When you are stressed, you feel weak, you experience physical pain, you isolate yourself from friends and family, you feel hopeless and irritated, you start to miss activities and you be anxious or even depressed. As a result, your overall well-being suffers as your health declines. Through exercise, you can improve your health and improve your immune system, and become more resistant to long-term effects of stress.

It provides a setting for social support. Whether you are hiking with a friend, working out in the gym with a buddy, in a yoga class with others, or playing basketball with a team, having others work out with you is enough to make you feel good, plus you still get the same amount of benefits of exercising. As you work out with others, you are more motivated to push harder without feeling that it is work or an obligation.

It makes you feel good. An improved physical appearance makes you feel good about yourself. It also boosts your confidence and strength. This reason may be superficial, but it is clear; when you exercise, you start to think positively about yourself and begin to change your outlook on life.

If the given reasons are not enough to get you moving and start exercising, I don’t know what is!

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Sabrina Griggs August 13, 2009, 1:51 am

    I couldn’t agree with your comments more. I originally began martial arts training for that very reason. I was stressed and not feeling well as a result. I wanted to find a natural solution to alleviate my stress. It did not happen immediately but within a few months I began to feel better and within a year there was a marked improvement. That was about 4 years ago and I am much healthier in body and mind as a result.

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