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Using Exercise to Reduce Stress

Coping with stress is one of the big challenges that we face in modern life. Stress comes from many sources, work, financial, family, to name but three. For many people it can rise significantly at this time of year, kids are off school bringing an extra set of problems, summer holidays and days out can add a financial burden and workload can increase to cover for absent colleagues.

Whilst the simple answer is take away the issue that is causing stress it’s rarely that straightforward. For most people stress is an inevitable part of life, so the real answer lies in managing it so we can reduce stress to a controllable level. This is where exercise comes to the rescue as it’s proven to be an effective way of reducing stress. Here’s why;

  • Stress causes muscle tension – exercise helps muscles use pent-up energy.
  • Stress causes hormones to be released which make you feel irritable and if occur over a period of time will cause stress related illnesses. Exercise will help use up these hormones.
  • When stressed the liver produces more cholesterol – exercise will use up the excess.
  • Exercise makes you feel happy. Endorphins are released which are a natural pain killer and give you feelings of happiness.
  • Exercise takes your mind off problems. Distracts you from whatever is bothering you and can give you a sense of perspective.
  • Exercise boosts your immune system; meaning you generally feel better and are able to cope with stress more effectively.
  • Research also shows that a regular exerciser will have a reduced stress reaction when in adverse situations.

So by exercising regularly, you are reducing stress and simultaneously taking away the negative effect it has on your health with the added bonus of making you feel good. If you’re feeling stressed and exercise is not a regular part of your life then start now. Initially it doesn’t need to be anything too intense, when you get home tonight, go for a walk/jog/run in the park and see how much better you feel afterwards. You will: I promise!

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