Your activities every day are certainly not free from stress. If you can overcome it, you can go through the day without anxiety. Conversely, if you are unable to cope with the stress that is burdening your mind, your quality of life will decrease. If you find it difficult to think clearly, have difficulty sleeping, and become unproductive when working. To free yourself from stress, you can start by doing regular exercise at home. How can exercise relieve stress? Let’s find out from the review below.
How can exercise relieve stress? What types of exercise are good for stress management?
Do you often experience stress lately? Staying home all the time due to the pandemic makes all of us prone to stress.
Stress has many negative effects on our health, especially if left without any treatment. If you experience stress, you may get sick easily because stress causes a decrease in the immune system, causes high blood pressure, digestive problems, skin rash, and stress can even cause an increased risk of developing degenerative diseases.
Is it true that exercise can handle stress?
Exercise and stress relief
Stress can affect your health from your feet to the tips of your hair. Nearly 77 percent of people who experience stress feel headaches, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, muscle aches, digestive disorders, and difficulty concentrating.
Getting rid of stress without solving the root of the problem is indeed difficult. However, learning how you deal with stress is the best way to suppress some symptoms of stress. One way to physical activity, such as sports.
“When you are active and do regular exercise, your body produces a hormone that we called endorphins. This hormone works to fight stress. So, exercise can free your mind from various problems, “said Frank Lupine, MS, a licensed athlete coach in Coordinated Health, as reported by Everyday Health.
Also, when you move your body, you’ll make your body’s muscles actively work and help with your blood circulation as well. Coupled with breathing exercises performed before or after exercise, physical activity is stimulating your body to be more relaxed.
Also read: Unhealthy Behaviors Triggered by Stress
Exercise and stress facts
An exercise is a form of physical ‘stress’ for your body. Simply put, with us getting used to doing sports, your body learns to adapt and get used to dealing with physical ‘stress’ well. With this adaptation, your body can easily adapt and survive other pressures.
Research shows that exercise such as routine aerobics is associated with decreased sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal nerve activity. Sympathetic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal nerve activity is the body’s system that is responsible for responding to stress and causing changes in our body functions due to stress.
Doing regular exercise is the same as training your body to respond to stress better, including responding in terms of changes in bodily and physiological functions. As the heart rate becomes faster, muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises, exercise can lower and make these changes normal again.
It has been mentioned before that stress can disrupt your body to function properly. Stress can cause physiological changes in the body such as faster heart rate, insomnia, increased appetite, and so on. By exercising regularly, our body functions that change due to stress can also be overcome.
Exercise and stress studies – Exercise to reduce stress and depression
Various studies have proven that exercise can release endorphins, popularly called happy hormones. And amazingly, no need to sweat to get these effects.
A study at the University of New South Wales proves, it only takes a total of 1 hour each week to relieve stress through exercise. If taken on average, it means less than 10 minutes every day. For some people, they may not sweat if they only do 10 minutes of exercise.
The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, uses substantial data. The data used came from around 34,000 adults in Norway between 1984 and 1997.
Another finding revealed was that people who never exercise had a 44 percent higher risk of experiencing depression. Whereas those who took up an hour of exercise every week had a 12 percent lower risk of depression.
Exercise reduces the depressant hormone in the body
When you experience stress, your body will automatically release the hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Both of these hormones can increase energy and blood pressure immediately when your body is receiving pressure.
Cortisol is commonly referred to as a flight-for-fight hormone because it prepares the body to be under pressure, such as preparing more energy by increasing blood sugar and preventing insulin from turning it into glycogen.
However, when cortisol and epinephrine are continuously produced due to chronic stress, the body’s physiological functions will be disrupted. In response to withstand the pressure that comes, cortisol and epinephrine will prepare more energy that can be used by our body, by increasing blood sugar and stopping insulin. If this lasts a long time, then people who are experiencing stress are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, and a decreased immune system.
Various studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce a person’s stress. This happens because regular exercise can reduce the cortisol and epinephrine hormones and increase the norepinephrine hormone. So, exercise becomes our natural antidepressant.
A study involving 49 women who were experiencing severe stress, who were then asked to do regular exercise for 8 consecutive weeks, showed there was a decrease in cortisol and epinephrine levels in their urine. Besides, the results of psychological tests conducted on the group showed that their stress levels were reduced, even completely gone.
The results of the study also showed that an increase in the hormones serotonin and endorphins commonly called the happy hormone. An increase in these hormones can make the body feel relaxed, calm, and happy.
Exercise helps to reduce pain and get better sleep
People manifest their stress with tension, headache, irritation, etc as pain and exercise flood the body especially the brain which is our central control with endorphins that block pain. When we are pain-free, we can have better sleep and so during sleep cortisol decrease.
Also, exercise increases blood circulation sending more oxygen and enzymes (antioxidants) to neutralize the oxygen radicals (ROS) produce during stress. These radicals are what lead to nerve damage (firing like crazy) causing pain.
Exercise increases self-efficacy
Self-efficacy is a form of confidence in solving and dealing with existing problems. Self-efficacy can increase self-confidence, whereas people who are stressed usually have a low level of self-confidence and self-efficacy. Not only can exercise increase endurance and the body’s ability to deal with stress, but it can also improve one’s self-efficacy.
Research says that doing sports like self-defense is effective in creating self-efficacy. When you have high self-confidence and self-efficacy, then you will be more confident you can solve the problem and try to find a way out of the pressure.
Types of exercise for stress management
What kind of exercise can relieve stress?
Various kinds of exercise can help reduce stress, so you don’t have to do strenuous exercise to relax your body.
You can do stress relief exercises at home such as tai chi, yoga, no weight exercise, etc. Other easy and simple sports that you can also do for example walking, running, cycling, swimming, and so on. However, the important thing is to do it regularly, so your body will get used to it.
Also, try to do a sport that you like and get your family members involved too. In addition to making you comfortable when doing it, mood and emotions will be more easily controlled so that stress decreases.
Also read: Benefits of Meditation for Children
What kind of exercise that seniors can do to reduce stress?
Studies show that exercise is very effective in reducing fatigue, increasing alertness and concentration, and improving overall cognitive function.
When stress affects the brain, the body is also affected by this. Conversely, when your body is good, then your mind will also be good.
We Stress Free recommends Tai chi, walking, and gardening for older adults. Check out this article to find out about balance and the fun walk at-home workout for seniors. You can start small by doing a short walk for 15-20 minutes a day is much better than wait until the weekend to do three to four hours of marathon fitness.
Exercises that seniors should avoid: leg press, jogging for a long distance, bench press, squats with weights (dumbbells), sit up (abdominal crunches), deadlift, cardio (high-intensity interval exercise), etc.
Here is the list of sport can reduce stress essay:
1) Physical Activity Reduces Stress by Anxiety and Depression Association of America
2) Stress Management by Mayo Clinic
Also read: 10 Best Ways to Relieve Stress
Try Exercise, You May Like It
When someone experiences stress, this will disrupt daily activities and affect your mental health.
A powerful way to relieve stress hormones and make our nerves stable is to do physical activities or exercising. By exercising, all your organs in the body will start to work, you will have an increased muscle tension, blood pressure, as well as your heartbeat’s rhythm. All your stress will reduce to a normal level along with your nerves.
Exercise can improve mood, help someone behave calmly, relieve stress, help you to get better sleep, and even cope with mild depressive symptoms.
In addition to exercising to relieve stress, remember to get enough rest, eat healthy foods, drink enough mineral water, and do interesting hobbies to take a break from your daily tasks.
If stress continues, it helps you talk to a psychologist to get treatment. You can also talk about your health problems by contacting a doctor or other health professional such as a psychologist.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy!
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