Why Exercise Relieves Stress

Whether you live in Houston, TX, or any other part of the country, stress is real. Sometimes, just turning on the TV and listening to the news can cause stress. Instead of watching TV, you’re better off exercising. You’ll feel great in a short time. Sometimes, just running up and down stairs can make you feel great. That’s because exercise relieves stress. While it can be addictive, it’s a great addiction and the only side effect is a fabulous buff body and loads of energy.

When you workout, your body reverses the changes of stress.

When you’re under stress, your brain creates hormones to prepare your body for running or fighting. It’s called the fight or flight response. Stress during the times of early man came from being attacked or seeing enemies or predators. When confronted, the brain created hormones to help man do one or both of those. The hormones caused the body to send more blood to extremities for running and fighting, dilate the eyes to see better, and increase the heart rate and blood pressure. All these changes diverted blood from other areas that weren’t necessary for either running or fighting, like the stomach. It explains why you often feel sick to your stomach and may even tremble.

What stressed cavemen is different than your stressors.

Times change and so do things that cause stress. While early man may have been stressed by a saber tooth tiger, angry customers, traffic jams and running late are the stressors of today. Even crowds can be stressful. In most cases, running or fighting isn’t appropriate. Sometimes, things perceived as dangerous aren’t even real, like waking up from a nightmare or watching a scary movie. Your brain doesn’t differentiate between the real or perceived danger. It simply sends out stress hormones that make the changes.

Just get moving, since exercise not only burns off hormones, it has other benefits that help you.

All types of exercise, whether its running, doing calisthenics, pressing weights or simply pacing the floor help burn off stress hormones. Even better, the brain creates happy hormones that make you feel good to replace the stress hormones. The activity simulates the movements you’d make during fight or flight, tricking your body and brain into relaxation. Exercise also increases circulation, as it sends nutrients and oxygen laden blood throughout the body. It allows you to relax by relieving muscle tension. It helps to bring you to a relaxed state, with muscle tightness gone and a wider range of motion.

  • Healthy eating can also help prevent stress. Try going sugar free for a while. It can level out your blood sugar so you don’t have a sugar high that makes you on edge or the ultimate sugar crash where you get cranky.
  • If you have a serious problem that just has to play out and you have no control, exercise can help you take your mind off it. While you can’t control everything in your life, it helps you control your thoughts, at least for a while.
  • Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists now include exercise as a complementary treatment in conjunction with medication for anxiety, depression and stress. Studies show it is sometimes all that is needed to treat these symptoms and as good for some patients as medication.
  • If you’re emotionally out of sorts, it may be the result of an imbalance of beneficial gut bacteria. Studies show the digestive microbes play a role in your emotions and exercise can boost the growth of beneficial bacteria.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness

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