Would you exercise if it would help relieve stress?
There are so many reasons to exercise that you might not feel like you need another. But if those skinny jeans aren’t a motivator, this may help.
If you’re stressed out and still not exercising regularly already, you’ll want to start right away.
We all have our fair share of stress, and exercise is one of the best natural stress relievers around. And it makes perfect sense when you think about it. There’s a little pain involved in working out, but then you feel amazing when it’s over. Exercise actually makes you feel better about a lot of things in life. You should really give it a go.
Here’s why you should embrace exercise as a stress reducer.
Fewer side effects than medication
If you tell your doctor that you need something to help you manage your stress levels, he or she might prescribe something like Prozac or Lexapro. And while many people find these medications helpful for relieving anxiety symptoms, they do come with a list of potential side effects. Common side effects of anti-anxiety medications include insomnia, headaches, dry mouth, and even more anxiety.
Exercise, on the other hand, can relieve stress without any side effects at all. Unless, of course, you consider a healthy glow and killer body as side effects.
When you exercise, your mind is probably focused on the changes that are happening in your body. But there are also real and measurable changes that are taking place in your brain.
Exercise helps boost the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. You may have heard of the “runner’s high.” Well, it’s not just for runners. It’s for anyone who engages in any type of physical activity. You see, exercise breaks down your muscles before the body goes in and rebuilds them stronger. To counter the effects of your muscles breaking down, your body releases endorphins to help minimize pain and soreness. As a bonus, you feel like you’re on top of the world for a while.
Helps clear your mind
When you’re exercising, it’s difficult to think much about your problems. Instead, you’re focused completely on the task at hand. And sometimes, a break from anxiety is all you need to start your day off on the right foot. If there was a non-addictive pill that would make you forget your problems, most people would probably take it. But since there isn’t, you may as well exercise. It’s about the next best thing.
Insomnia is commonly associated with anxiety for obvious reasons. When you can’t stop stressing about your problems, how can you sleep? But not only can exercise help clear your mind and boost your mood, but it can also help you sleep better.
Most of us sleep better when we’re tired, and exercise is a great way to ensure we’re expending enough energy in a day. Just be sure that you’re not exercising in the few hours before bed. Late-night workouts can get your heart pumping, which may do more to interfere with sleep than to help.
If you’re still not sold on the benefits of exercise, maybe you haven’t found the right type. Try different types of exercise to see what works best for you. Some people love cardio and running while others dread it. But you’ll never know which one you are until you try. Whether it’s cross fit, yoga, dancing or jujitsu, you’re sure to find something that suits your lifestyle.
And if all else fails, consider outdoor therapy. Just try a 30-minute nature walk each day and see how your anxiety responds. You’ll be glad you did.
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