Stress and Exercise
<h3>Stress and Exercise</h3>
Stress is something we all deal with in varying amounts and we all have different reactions. The physiological response is a rise in heart rate, tightening of the muscles, and a spike of adrenaline and cortisol that increase physical strength and stamina, among other things. These responses are useful from a survival standpoint but are meant to be only temporary. Over time, an elevated stress level will cause a variety of physical and mental complications.
In the short term some people experience irritability, edginess, and inability to sit still. In others the manifestation may be opposite, as in a withdrawn, depressed and despondent disposition. Cognitive effects are things like trouble concentrating, memory problems, and/or poor judgment. Long term effects of stress range in severity from things like muscle aches, frequent colds, to more severe problems like obesity, depression, even heart disease.
There are many useful methods related to breathing techniques, meditation, and positive self-talk that, with practice, can be very effective aft reducing stress by controlling heart rate and lowering blood pressure, basically reversing stress’ physiological responses.
A regular exercise program will combat stress from many angles, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic:
• It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
• It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
• It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.