Tuesday, September 19, 2023

How Can Exercise Reduce Stress

Exercise And Ptsd And Trauma

How to reduce stress with the 2:1 breathing technique

Evidence suggests that by really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, you can actually help your nervous system become unstuck and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in your joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. Exercises that involve cross movement and that engage both arms and legssuch as walking , running, swimming, weight training, or dancingare some of your best choices.

Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Affordable Online Therapy for Mental Health Problems

Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.

Need urgent help? .

Why Is Exercising Important For Our Everyday Life

Exercising is one of the best ways to reduce stress and stay healthy and fit. Exercise releases endorphins that help improve your mood, decrease anxiety, manage stress better, and improve sleep.

You should take part in moderate exercise for about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Although, any time voluntarily spent taking part in any activity that you enjoy can reduce stress.

Variation On Slow Breath Awareness

  • Find a comfortable seated position. You may also do this exercise standing, for example, if youre waiting in line. If you are laying down, you may place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your abdomen.
  • Gently lower your eyes to the floor in front of you or close your eyes.
  • Begin to notice how your breath feels today.
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose for four counts and exhale through your nose for four counts.
  • Repeat this breath cycle: Four counts in and four counts out. Continue to do this for one minute.
  • Now, try four counts in and five counts out. Repeat this for the second minute.
  • Now, try four counts in and six counts out. Repeat this for the third minute.
  • Now, try four counts in, hold for two counts, and six counts out.
  • Continue this pace if it is comfortable for the rest of your exercise.
  • When youre ready, return to your normal breathing without trying to control it.
  • For those who may feel restless or distracted when seated, you have some options:

    Read Also: What Are Some Symptoms Of Stress

    You Dont Have To Suffer To Get Results

    Research shows that moderate levels of exercise are best for most people. Moderate means:

  • That you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath. For example, you should be able to chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
  • That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.
  • Can’t find time to exercise during the week? Be a weekend warrior

    A recent study in the United Kingdom found that people who squeeze their exercise routines into one or two sessions during the weekend experience almost as many health benefits as those who work out more often. So dont let a busy schedule at work, home, or school be an excuse to avoid activity. Get moving whenever you can find the timeyour mind and body will thank you!

    Exercise As A Stressor

    Simple Exercises You Can Do Right at Your Desk to Reduce Stress

    The above discussion should impress upon the clinician and researcher that exercise is itself a mental and physical stressor . In short, the stress of exercise may in some circumstances interact with psychological stress to dampen PA behavior. Indeed, exercise might by typified as a self-inflicted stressor, often intentionally undertaken with a goal of attaining health and fitness. While such experiences are generally considered adaptive, not all outcomes are positive in nature. From a physical standpoint, for instance, there is always risk of injury , which is magnified under conditions of stress and may result in missed exercise participation. Exercise undertaken in unaccustomed volumes can elevate glucocorticoids and stunt physical processes, such as neurogenesis . Ultimately, at very high levels exercise may result in deleterious outcomes, such as unexplained underperformance syndrome. This outcome may be exacerbated by the experience of mental stressors and, likewise, may result in additional sensations of stress . Indeed, increased exercise over a period of days or weeks can contribute to negative shifts in ones mood and increased perceived stress . A recent study found that poor muscular recovery was associated with self reports of chronic stress . As sensations related to muscle damage likely result in impaired PA , it is possible that stress may affect exercise behavior by magnifying unpleasant sensations associated with exercise.

    Also Check: Can Stress Cause An Allergic Reaction

    Physical Activity Reduces Stress

    Stress is an inevitable part of life. Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives, according to the most recent ADAA survey on stress and anxiety disorders. When the American Psychological Association surveyed people in 2008, more people reported physical and emotional symptoms due to stress than they did in 2007, and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.

    Its impossible to eliminate, but you can learn to manage stress, and most people usually do. According to a recent ADAA online poll, some 14 percent of people make use of regular exercise to cope with stress. Others reported talking to friends or family sleeping watching movies or TV , as well as eating and listening to music .

    While all of these are well-known coping techniques, exercise may be the one most recommended by health care professionals. And among ADAA poll takers who exercise, a healthy percentage is already on the right track: Walking , running , and yoga are their preferred strategies.

    Exercising Body and Mind

    Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

    Easy Ways To Move More That Dont Involve The Gym

    Dont have a 30-minute block of time to dedicate to yoga or a bike ride? Dont worry. Think about physical activity as a lifestyle rather than just a single task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here, there, and everywhere.

    < Move in and around your home. Clean the house, wash the car, tend to the yard and garden, mow the lawn with a push mower, sweep the sidewalk or patio with a broom.

    Sneak activity in at work or on the go. Bike or walk to an appointment rather than drive, use stairs instead of elevators, briskly walk to the bus stop then get off one stop early, park at the back of the lot and walk into the store or office, or take a vigorous walk during your coffee break.

    Get active with the family. Jog around the soccer field during your kids practice, make a neighborhood bike ride part of your weekend routine, play tag with your children in the yard, go canoeing at a lake, walk the dog in a new place.

    Get creative with exercise ideas. Pick fruit at an orchard, boogie to music, go to the beach or take a hike, gently stretch while watching television, organize an office bowling team, take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.

    Also Check: How To Stop Stress Eating At Night

    How Much Exercise Is Necessary For Stress Reduction

    We should take part in moderate physical activity for about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. You can do it easily by participating in activities of your choice, such as walking, running, cycling, dancing, yoga, or playing team sports.

    It will help you to reduce stress and keep you healthy.

    However, if you are experiencing severe stress, it is recommended to participate in a session of activity that you enjoy for about 3-5 hours per week.

    Relieve Stress Dont Create It

    How to reduce stress with progressive muscle relaxation

    Most importantly, exercise should be fun. If participating in sports is just another form of pressure, it defeats the purpose. Find a way of being active thats enjoyable. Making time for exercise is a crucial part of having a healthy balance in life and keeping your mind focused and clear. The benefits that come from moving the body will help keep stress under control.

    Also Check: How Overcome Stress And Depression

    Gives A Person A Break From Stress

    Another theory is called the time-out hypothesis. This posits that exercise reduces stress by providing a break from it. For example, a person may lower their stress levels at work by going for a brisk walk on their lunch break.

    Researchers in an older 1998 study tested the time-out hypothesis in a small group of females with anxiety and found that exercising caused lower anxiety levels.

    A 2021 study of high school students had similar findings. Researchers found that a 10-minute exercise break during a stressful exam week resulted in lower stress levels and improved cognitive function.

    Many studies on exercise for stress relief focus on aerobic activity. This does not mean that other types of exercise, such as weight training, are not effective they are just less widely studied.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , people should aim to get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.

    People who experience work-related stress may wish to divide their daily exercise into shorter sessions. They can perform these before work, during a lunch break, or after work.

    Many physical activities fall into the category of aerobic exercise, but the suggests brisk walking. A person can choose another activity they enjoy, such as:

    The authors stated that exercise may aid in treating anxiety disorders through a broad spectrum of benefits.

    Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise

    Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people.

    If you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and help with recovery from mental health issues.

    It can also improve your sleep, which is important in many different ways.

    Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Stress Hormones In Body

    How Does Exercise Relieve Stress

    Exercise has a big role to play in relieving stress. Therefore health care practitioners always recommend us to keep our body moving and our brain productive, to have a healthy life.

    Studies suggest that staying fit allows individuals to maintain general mental and physical wellbeing even in the face of negative life events. Regular exercise is found to play an important role in managing stress and is shown to have a positive effect on reducing tension, anxiety, and depression.

    Physical exercises to reduce stress and ensure good health are stretching exercises such as yogic asana and aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. Whereas stretching exercises have a calming effect, aerobic exercises increase the arousal level of the body.

    The health benefits of exercise work as a stress buffer. Along with this, exercise relieves stress by pumping up the levels of endorphins the feel-good hormones in our body.

    Reaping The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise Is Easier Than You Think

    Fun Stress Management Exercise

    You dont need to devote hours out of your busy day to train at the gym, sweat buckets, or run mile after monotonous mile to reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough. And even that can be broken down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions if thats easier.

    You May Like: What Is Post Stress Disorder

    Contrary Evidence For An Association Between Stress And Pa

    Despite this evidence, some studies have found no association whatsoever between stress and PA. In fact, 34 studies in this review found no effect of stress on PA outcomes and several more found marginal or conflicting results . These studies frequently had less rigorous designs , smaller samples sizes , and very poor measures of PA/exercise and/or psychological stress . Stress management interventions have failed to demonstrate a concurrent increase in subjective and objective markers of PA , and stress did not appear to affect compliance with exercise programming . As mentioned above, eight prospective studies did not find a relationship. For instance, Grace et al. , examining a group of pregnant women over three time periods during and after pregnancy, found no relationship of role strain or pregnancy with PA.

    How To Relieve Stress Within 5 Minutes At Your Desk

    1. Shake off Your Stress:

    Often your body feels stiff because of long hours of working and prolonged stress therefore, it becomes important to shrug it off. You really dont have to do much here! Sit at your desk and shrug it off with the help of these stress-relieving exercises

    Head and Neck: Lean your chin forward and roll your head gently from shoulder to shoulder. Repeat it 3-5 times.

    Shoulders: Take a deep breath, raise your shoulders to your ears, hold them there for a few seconds, slowly exhale and release your shoulders. Repeat it for 3-5 times. This exercise promises to reduce your stress.

    Fingers: Lift your hands up in the air, loosen them up. Now shake your hands and fingers, let all the stress be shaken off.

    Waist: Place your hands on your waist. Now, rotate it. First clockwise then anti-clockwise .

    Legs: Sit comfortably on the chair with your back straight. Lift both legs straight out in front of you now slowly rotate your feet clockwise pause for 10 seconds and rotate them in an anti-clockwise direction .

    Full Body: Stand at your place, on your paws and start jogging at that fixed point . Do it for a pretty good 30 seconds.

    With these stress-relieving exercises, you will be able to release stress and stiffness from your complete body. All you have to do is shake it off and get back to work.

    Equipment required: Your DeskPractice: Twice Daily

    2. Stretch your Body

    You can try this full-body stretching exercise to reduce stress and anxiety.

    3. A Laughter Break

    You May Like: What Can Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Can Exercise Help Reduce Stress

    Can Exercise Help Reduce Stress? Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.

    What exercises reduces stress? Brisk walking. Jogging or running. Boxing. HIIT workouts.

    What type of exercise is most effective at reducing stress and its effects? Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. AP .

    Best Exercises For Relieving Stress

    3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

    Many people turn to fitness as a way to reach their physical health goals, but what about the impact it has on your wellness too?

    Exercise plays a crucial part on your mental health, as its an excellent way to let off steam throughout the week, release those feel-good endorphins into the brain, and allows you to carve out time to reconnect with your mind.

    Over time, fitness offers long-term mental health benefits too, such as increased self-confidence, improved sleep, and general healing from the inside out allowing you to feel strong both physically and mentally.

    Exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn stimulates our mood-boosting endorphins helping us to relax, and can even lower mild symptoms of depression and anxiety.

    So, if youre looking for the ideal exercises and movements to reduce your stress levels and benefit your mind, Dean Zwech, Product Development Manager at Total Fitness, has shared his expert advice.


    Swimming is a low-impact exercise which is suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities this is because water buoyancy reduces the impact on the body, allowing you to relax and workout without feeling overexerted. Water is also known for its tranquil qualities, which is why we are drawn to its calming nature.

    The colour blue has been proven to naturally promote relaxation, which is why swimming makes for a wonderful exercise for anyone looking to combat stress.




    Tai Chi

    Also Check: How To Deal With Stress For Kids

    Why Does Exercise Reduce Stress How Much Do You Need

    Its clear that exercise is beneficial for mental health. Whats not clear is how it works. according to the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Health Letter.In one study, researchers reported that clinically depressed adults who participated in regular exercise for three months had an improvement in symptoms similar to what might have been achieved with antidepressant drugs. Other studies have found that higher levels of physical activity are associated with fewer symptoms of depression in children as well as improvement in symptoms of adults with PTSD, panic and other anxiety disorders.

    Possible explanations are that vigorous exercise can increase levels of endorphins, which are known to provide a sense of well-being and increased resistance to pain. Elite marathoners may experience a feeling of euphoria referred to as therunners high and are often so insensitive to pain that they continue to run on broken bones that would normally bring them to an immediate halt. However, the old adage no pain, no gain no longer seems to be valid since many stress-reduction rewards can be achieved by walking for 20-30 minutes several times a week or other much milder physical activities that promote a sense of well being. The support provided by others in group exercise activities, as well as an improved sense of selfesteem associated with physical activity, can also have powerful stress reduction effects.

    Paul J. Rosch, M.D.,

    - Advertisement - spot_img
    Popular Articles
    Related news