Feeling stressed? While we can’t always avoid stress, we can do something to help: exercise. Exercise improves our resilience to stress by improving our brains hormonal response, helping ‘blow off steam’ to manage our mood, and improving sleep.
Ever hear of a runner’s high? Exercise creates chemical changes in our brain that help counteract the effects of stress. Endorphins, or feel-good hormones, released during exercise help to reduce the sensation of pain and are associated with the feeling of well-being. Exercise also increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, known to help reduce depression and improve mood.
Physical activity challenges your body physically and asks your heart, lungs, and muscles to work harder. Surprisingly this physical stress is a great way to put ourselves in the present moment to help reduce rumination thoughts and feelings of frustration. The benefits of exercise can also help you gain more quality sleep which is key for hormone health and mood support.
Your sense of accomplishment and pride after a workout can also help to reduce stress. While we can’t control everything, choosing to make your health a priority and follow through on your commitment is a powerful way to improve your sense of self-worth and our response to stressful situations.
Making time to move for better physical and mental health could help you feel your best no matter what your day brings. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Resource: Completely Well, January 2021