Exercise and Stress Relief – by Jason Eyanson, M.S.

Stress ReliefThere are a long list of areas that exercise has been studied to help with. These areas can range from physical to mental. One area that exercise can help reverse spans both the physical to the mental. This area is stress. Stress has been known to cause many adverse affects in people. It has been linked to things such as: headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Stress is also linked to doctor’s visits, in that 75-90% of these visits have something to do with stress and its affects. Also, 43% of adults suffer adverse affects of stress. Many of us go through our day-to-day lives ignoring many of the symptoms of stress, causing levels of stress and its affects to build. Stress, on the other hand, can have some positive effects on the body. There is eustress. This is stress that is exciting and fun. Often times this stress keeps us viral, and gets adrenaline pumping, making us feel energetic and excited.

If you allow stress levels to grow and build upon itself, the damage to the body can be great. However, there is a light at the end of the stress tunnel! One great way to reduce stress levels is by exercising. This is another thing on the list of positives from exercising! In the area of stress reduction, it can also help in those areas that cause stress. It affects the areas of self-esteem, sleep, and mood, to name just a few. How does exercise do this? Well let’s start with the physical aspects. During exercise, your brain releases endorphins. These endorphins are chemicals that make you feel good. Endorphins affect the pain receptors of the body, reducing the perception of pain. After exercising awhile, you can actually start to build a higher tolerance to stress and its effects.

So the next question would naturally be; how much exercise is needed in order for this to happen? With stress and exercise, even a little bit can go a long way. Start with 30 minutes of exercise three times per week. This is a good time for you to be able to decompress during the day. Exercise can let you take your stress out as well as is a diversion from the day-to-day stressors. As you are able to input exercise into your weekly routine, you can start exercising a few minutes longer each time. An ideal amount of time for exercise is between 30-60 minutes. Stress relief is another on the list of things that exercise is good for. You may start exercising for many different reasons, and end up gaining many positives as a result!