Stretching For Stress: Could Exercise Be The Tonic For You?

Do you ever have those days when it feels like everything goes wrong from the moment your alarm doesn’t go off or you miss the bus or train by a millisecond? Are you juggling tasks at work or have you got a household full of energetic children, pets that keep you awake at night or things you could really do without like bills to pay or family arguments? Stress is a very common problem, but there are solutions out there. One proven remedy is exercise. Next time you’re feeling stressed out, why not make time for a quick workout or exercise class?


How Does Exercise Combat Stress?

Exercise is a natural mood-booster, and it can also help you tackle stress by giving you something else to focus on, clearing your mind and helping you release tension and frustration. When you work out, you go for a walk, or you play sports, a series of chemical reactions are triggered within the body. You may have noticed that you feel more energetic and happier after exercise, and this is because your body releases happy hormones, known as endorphins. Exercise also increases your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain, which is responsible for regulating your mood. Cardio exercises, such as running and cycling, are most effective when it comes to boosting serotonin levels. If you’re active, it’s also likely that your sleep patterns will improve and this can be a major benefit for those prone to stress. Sleepless nights can make you feel stressed and then stress can make it difficult to sleep, and you end up in a vicious cycle. A study cited by the National Sleep Foundation suggested that 150 minutes of exercise per week could improve sleep quality by up to 65 percent.




The Best Types of Exercise for Stress

Any form of exercise will provide you with benefits, but there are certain activities that are particularly beneficial for stress. If you’re feeling stressed because you’ve got too much on your plate, you’re tired or run down, and you can’t switch off, exercises like yoga and Pilates are an excellent choice. These forms of exercise encourage you to focus on your breathing and relax. They also strengthen and tone your muscles and improve flexibility and suppleness. Going for a run in the park or on the beach, taking a kayak or canoe out on the water or going for a swim could also help you to feel calm. If you’re feeling angry or frustrated or you’ve been cooped up in meetings all day and you feel tense, try intensive activities like boxing training, spinning, lifting weights or high-intensity interval training. These exercises release tension and they enable you to burn excess energy and get a really good workout.


Do you suffer from stress? Do you feel like you’re under pressure most of the time? If so, try and incorporate more exercise into your daily regime. Exercise is proven to lift your mood, reduce tension and help you relax and it can really make a difference to your mood and your sleep habits, as well as your physical health.

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