Stress Relief and Exercise: Tips to Build a Simple Stress Relief Habit

Man at desk stressed

Stress Relief and Exercise: Tips to Build a Simple Stress Relief Habit

Want to find out what kinds of exercises relieve stress? A little or a lot of exercise can go a long way toward stress management. Stress relief and exercise go hand in hand. Getting started with a stress-relieving habit like exercise can develop into a great healthy routine.

The best stress relief exercises

Here are some additional tips to help you get the most out of your exercises. There are many types of exercises that relieve stress. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises can do the job.

Aerobic (with oxygen) exercises are those that you can sustain for longer than just a few minutes many of the examples can be done anaerobically if they are done at a high enough intensity and release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the brain. Exercises that relieve stress like this include, walking, jogging, dancing, yoga, tai chi, or some team sports.

You can also do anaerobic (without oxygen) exercises which are exercises that you can only sustain for short periods of time that also relieve stress. Examples are, sprinting, swimming underwater, heavy weight lifting and high-intensity interval training.

These exercises also release endorphins. However, often when people are training too hard and too intense the body associates the exercise as pain. They do help relieve stress by increasing your quick action muscle fibers, endurance and strength, awareness of your body and its movements.

Stress is positive and negative

There are two types of stress; distress and eustress. Distress is negative stress and eustress is positive. We need stress (Yes! You heard that right.) to survive, get stronger and grow. The word stress can positive a lot of the time we just often associate the word “stress” with negative stress. Just like aerobic and anaerobic exercise we can take an aerobic movement and make it anaerobic or vice versa by changing intensity.

We can do the same with stress. Our thoughts play a major role in how we handle stress. For example, a roller coaster, getting married, finding out you are pregnant, driving behind slow people makes some people feel distress and others feel eustress. It all depends on how you look at the situation.

Humans haven’t evolved much past the point in time we were being chased by tigers now we sit in our cars and get stuck behind a slow driver, are late for an appointment and all of a sudden we are ready to fight. So even though it is not that big of a big deal our bodies are reacting as if we are getting chased by a tiger. Stress is good because without it we would have been dinner and never would truly enjoy life. Fight or flight is helpful in many situations, but nearly every situation is not life or death and can be good if we take a minute to really think.  

The symptoms of distress

Stress can cause a variety of symptoms including behavioral (biting nails, smoking, using alcohol, medication, over/under eating), emotional (panic attacks, anxiety, anger, irritability depression, racing thoughts, aggressiveness), and physical (headaches, stomach aches, digestive problems, sleeplessness, fatigue, heartburn).

Positive Stress Relief

Talking about your feelings and hugging a friend or family member you release oxytocin in your brain and you feel better.

Exercise with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic movements. Doing it regularly improves your strength, endurance, and your self-esteem.

Benefits of exercising for stress relief

The benefits of exercising for stress relief include:

  • Increasing endorphins released in the brain.
  • Improves mood.
  • Improves condition of the heart, lungs, and muscles.

You can also do exercises that you enjoy in a place that makes you happy. You can exercise with a friend, in a gym, at home, a park, on a beach or on a hiking trail.

In order to stick to a plan to exercise, make time in your schedule for it. This way you don’t lose the motivation to do it. To stay motivated once you’ve started, create a routine, and then change it so it stays fresh and appealing.

An additional benefit of stress relief exercise is it helps get your mind off your problems and focus on self-care and nature if you’re exercising outside.

Another quick fix for stress relief is to focus on what you’re eating. Putting healthy food into your body helps reduce stress and strengthen your whole body.

Breathing exercises can help you calm your nerves, allow you to think and focus your energy.

One minute relaxation exercise

In addition to regular exercising, you can also practice using all the muscles in your body one by one. Contract and relax the muscles in your face, including the nose, eyes, and jaws, and the muscles in the hands and feet, and your toes. Focusing on these muscles also releases some endorphins that can help you relax and become aware of how you’re using your body.

Luckily, you can do these stress relief exercises at home. For more information on reducing stress with exercise, contact us today.

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