With long commutes, busy lives and urgent work emails just a notification away, it's no wonder most people walk around in a chronic state of stress. Symptoms of this stress can include aches and pains, tension headaches, stomach problems, irritability and an all-around melancholy.
Sound like you?
Luckily, there’s a simple solution and that’s regular exercise. Not only is it all-natural, effective and cost-efficient, you can do it pretty much anywhere. Exercise has been shown in countless studies to effectively treat stress, depression, anxiety and even the common cold. It's one of the best universal remedies out there, and if you're not making it a part of your daily routine, you're really missing out.
Here are some of the many ways exercise and stress relief are connected:
Stress Free Sleep
If you’re like most people, you’ve definitely had those nights where your mind just wouldn't shut off even though your eyes really wanted to shut down. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is a vicious cycle that keeps going and going. Luckily, exercise not only helps break that cycle by better enabling you to handle stress in the first place but it also helps you feel tired at night so you can fall asleep more quickly without the restlessness.
Not everyone chooses to exercise alone and some of gym goers best workouts have come from group settings! Attending a spin class, joining a workout boot camp or going on a group hike can not only help you get your daily sweat in, but also get you socializing with others who are probably experiencing some of life's similar stresses.
Fight or Flight
Evolution has instilled in us this innate ability to deal with stress, Fight or Flight. Unfortunately, our busy day to day lives often don’t allow us to fight our way out or run away. The best way to use these predispositioned hormones is to do some exercise. So sprint out or lift that stress off!
Endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers and when released, they give you a noticeable happy feeling. Long periods of moderate to high intensity exercise can increase the release of endorphins, which is why after these styles of workouts you often will feel a lift in your mood which will you running away from stress.
Synchs your Body Systems
When your body is in a state of stress, each of your body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, muscular, etc) need to interact flawlessly for you to manage the stress appropriately. Exercise actually helps these body systems practice this interaction in a way that is healthy.