I love getting my daily dose of physical activity because it is so good for my body, but more importantly because it is medicine for my mind. Physical activity is one of the best stress relievers there is. I have found that during the times in my life when I have experienced the most stress is when my physical activity levels have decreased. I have generally had a higher tolerance to stress, and had a better overall quality of life when I have made time to incorporate some type of exercise or physical activity into my life.
Here are three ways that getting active, or exercising can reduce stress:
- Physical activity increases the production of the neurotransmitters in your brain called endorphins that make you feel good. These chemicals have been known to create a positive feeling of well-being that can be referred to as a “runners’ high”.
- When you are concentrated on a fast-paced activity like volleyball, or a strenuous hike in the mountains, you are likely to let the worries of the day start to dissipate from your mind while your brain is focusing more on your movements and what you are doing. This helps you to begin to relax, and start to see the hurdles in your day as very small irritations.
- Regular exercise can help lower the symptoms anxiety and depression while also boosting self-confidence. For example, physical activity helps improve sleep which in turn reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. This can give you a positive sense of control over your body and your life.
Source: Mayo Clinic