Stressed Out? Hit the Gym!

Stressed Out? Hit the Gym!

Studies Show Exercise Helps Beat Stress

Disharmony, a lack of homeostasis, a whole host of physiological reactions—how and why we feel stress is unique for every person, but one thing is for certain: when stress shows up in our lives, if we do not adequately address it, too much of the wrong kind of stress can have negative implications for our health.

Gone unchecked, stress that overwhelms can cause damage, lead to illness, and can contribute to the worsening of chronic conditions. It is estimated that between 75% and 90% of primary care visits are due to stress-related illnesses! Cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, immune system suppression, headaches, and back and neck pain are just a few of the stress-related problems doctors treat every day.

Therefore, while we may not be able to control our stressors, it is critical that we develop healthy ways of coping, because managing and mitigating the effects of stress is essential for our well-being.

So how do we cope? There are a multitude of ways we can address life’s challenges and upsets, but one of the very best is exercise. It is well documented that exercise is a highly effective approach to managing and reducing stress. In fact, after just 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, people report feeling calmer and more relaxed, and that feeling can last for many hours after leaving the gym.

Studies are being conducted as to the precise mechanisms at play, the how and why exercise helps people feel better. The Mayo Clinic states that, “being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” Science has proven that even 15 minutes of a chair-based yoga practice is an exceptional way to reduce acute stress. If you would rather not exercise alone, a group exercise class can provide a built-in network of support, a community of like-minded folks working out together, leaving it all on the gym floor, so-to-speak.

Certainly, there are many components to managing stress, but one thing is for sure, exercise can be a highly effective way to meet stress head on. Research supports the idea that exercise helps our bodies handle stress. So, if you are anxious or overwhelmed, it is a good idea to check with your doctor and discuss adopting an exercise program to help you manage your stress.