Stress Release: Couch Or Exercise
If youre looking to chill out after a turbulent day at work by flopping onto the couch and letting your favorite series wash over you, your body will relax, but you wont get the benefits of exercise and stress relief.
Your heart rate, blood pressure, and your breathing will all decrease, but your muscles will still be tense and the stress hormones that were released earlier will continue to circulate in your body.
Exercise, on the other hand, relieves stress by producing more hormones to neutralize those stress hormones.
How Can Regular Exercise Help You Maintain Your Health And Happiness
We are all aware of the necessity of exercising on a regular basis, yet few of us stick to an exercise program on a constant basis. Exercise is essential for our health. Regular exercise may help you improve several aspects of your body, resulting in total wellbeing. You will be grateful to yourself in the future years for having a healthier physique.
Relax By Interrupting Your Anxious Thinking
It can be hard to think clearly when you feel anxious. Sometimes anxious thinking can make us believe harmful thoughts that are untrue or make us do things that make our anxiety worse. It can be helpful to break or interrupt your anxious thoughts so you can think clearly and react appropriately to your thoughts.
Heres how to break your anxious thought cycle:
- Ask yourself whether endless worry is a problem for you. If the answer is yes, its good to be aware of that.
- Try different ways of interrupting your anxious thought process, such as:
- Singing a silly song about your anxiety to an upbeat tempo, or speaking your anxieties in a funny voice.
- Choose a nice thought to focus on instead of your anxiety. This could be a person you love, your happy place, or even something you look forward to doing later that day, such as eating a nice dinner.
- Listen to music or read a book.
- Be conscious when you shift your attention from your anxiety to a task at hand and notice how you feel.
Do you feel worse?
Anxiety exercises may not work for everyone and may actually make symptoms worse for people who have a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder . If you have GAD, consult your doctor for more effective treatment options.
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If Your Body Continuously Produces Stress Hormones And Is Unable To Release Its Inner Tension Through Movement Your Body Will Go Into A Permanent State Of Alarm
When your stress hormones arent neutralized by other hormones like endorphins, theyll suppress the production of other hormones necessary for your health.
If your body continuously produces stress hormones and is unable to release its inner tension through movement, it will go into a permanent state of alarm. The consequences can play out as physical and mental health problems such as concentration difficulties, sleep disorders, or digestive problems.
What You Can Do: Exercise For Stress Management
Combining mental and physical exercises can help ease mental and physical stress. Some things that can help are:
- Find a time in your day to be by yourself away from distractions.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind.
- Concentrate on a neutral word or object to block out any other thoughts.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
Breathing: How does it affect me?
Slow and deep breathing can help your body relax, which helps your mind also relax. Slow breaths in and out that expand your diaphragm can cause the jaw to relax, releasing tension in the neck, shoulders and hips and leads to total body relaxation.
Try this exercise
- Breathe in slowly and deeply, expanding your rib cage so that your breathing muscles are put to maximal use.
- Inhale for three seconds and then hold for two seconds.
- Exhale slowly for four seconds, thinking relax.
- Repeat the entire sequence five to 10 times, concentrating on breathing deeply and slowly.
American College of Sports Medicine recommendations
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people living with and beyond cancer walk for up to thirty minutes a day, three times per week, to address anxiety and depression.
Where can I find more information about aerobic and strength-training exercises?
If you are interested in starting aerobic and/or strength-training exercises, The ONE Group provides videos demonstrating proper form for more than 50 exercises.
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How Does Regular Exercise Help To Reduce The Effects Of Mental Stress
True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind & exercise of the body the two are ever united. Wilhelm von Humboldt
Stress happens every day.
Theres just no getting around it. Stress is simply an inevitable component of life.
Nearly half of people surveyed on an annual basis about personal stress say that it is a problem that grows from year to year for them.
Since stress will always be around, the best thing we can do is to reduce its effects.
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the physical and emotional components of stress for acute moments and for chronic stress.
How does regular exercise help to reduce the effects of mental stress?
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.
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Reaping The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise Is Easier Than You Think
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.
Getting Started With Breathing Exercises
The good news about breathing exercises is that they dont require any equipment or skills to get started. You can feel better with these impactful exercises anytime, anywhere.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you start your breathwork:
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When Will I Start To See The Mental Health Benefits Of Physical Exercise
You may feel an improved mood and euphoric feeling immediately after you exercise, especially if youre engaging in moderate activity. You may also experience improved cognitive abilities, like memory, problem-solving skills, and decision-making ability, after just one session. Over time, these positive effects should continue to build, and you may notice improvements as soon as six weeks after starting regular exercise.
Stress Can Definitely Disrupt Sleep But Can Good Sleep Beat Stress
Stress can be a sleep thief. Thats because when youre stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. While it plays an important role in the fight-or-flight response, excess cortisol can trigger problems like anxiety, depression, and mental fogginess. Worse? Those elevated cortisol levels send an energizing signal to your body that makes it difficult to relax and drift off to sleep at night, Dr. Sonpal says.
Whats not so clear is exactly how consistently sleeping well helps prevent stress in the first place. A good place to start is looking at what goes wrong in the body when you dont sleep well, explains , associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver and global lead for behavior change with Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care.
Even in small amounts, sleep deprivation drives up your bodys stress response and makes you more sensitive to stress. If youre not getting the sleep you need, youre more susceptible to the effects of stress, Dr. Aloia says. As a result, your mood could be affected, youre more impulsive, and you may be less able to cope with stress.
Other research has suggested its because when youre not getting enough sleep, activity in your brains amygdala ramps up, according to a review published in October 2017 in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.
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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.
How Can I Decide What Types Of Exercise To Do
Before you begin an exercise program for depression, here are some questions you should consider:
- What physical activities do I enjoy?
- Do I prefer group or individual activities?
- What programs best fit my schedule?
- Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
- What goals do I have in mind?
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How Exercise Promotes Positive Well
Exercise can also be used to enhance well-being in people who already feel mentally healthy. Increased physical activity has been found to enhance mood, improve energy levels, and promote quality sleep.
There are several reasons why physical activity can be good for psychological well-being:
How Exercise Can Help With Anxiety Depression And Stress
Physical activity, no matter the type, is a good thing for all of us and using it to combat stress, anxiety and depression is essential to overall health and well being.
Unfortunately, stress, depression and anxiety cannot be turned off with the flick of a switch. More often than not, people cant control the way they feel. So how can seniors combat stress and its negative side effects? Activities in our communities like community dinners, games, sports and crafts all help through the power of social interaction. Exercise is another great way to combat these mental blocks, and it can be done solo or with friends. Seniors also benefit physically from exercise it can help prevent heart disease.
StressIts a myth that stress ends with retirement. Seniors have many things to worry about in their daily lives, whether that be moving to a retirement home or experiencing health issues. Stress is, unfortunately, a part of life. When stressful situations are ongoing and the release of these hormones becomes a chronic condition, it can lead to further health problems, such as hypertension and obesity.
Exercising is great for the body and the mind. Seniors should be encouraged to participate in regular physical activity, but it is important to always ask a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
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Provides A Good Physique
Most individuals exercise in order to see the desired change in their physique. So, exercising not only makes you feel better, but it also aids in weight loss, which improves your overall health. It also makes you appear toned on the exterior. A daily workout and a well-balanced diet can help you see a significant alteration in your physique.
What Are The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise
Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. But thats not what motivates most people to stay active.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And its also a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. And you dont have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.
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How Does Exercise Help Anxiety
Physical exercise may lessen feelings of anxiety and improve your resiliency against stress. Exercise is associated with less reactivity in the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, both of which are associated with the fight-or-flight reaction. Regular physical activity may also have positive effects on the brain, like increased neurogenesis and improved neurotransmitter levels.
You Dont Have To Suffer To Get Results
Research shows that moderate levels of exercise are best for most people. Moderate means:
Cant 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!
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Training Routines And Stress Relief
Perhaps you find yourself in the following scenario: you want to exercise to reduce stress, but then stress yourself to find time to exercise?! Most of us have experienced this at one point or another, and the key to finding success: making it a routine. If you develop a set routine for your day, then you eliminate the need to stress about when and how to fit exercise into your day. Just like your work schedule or brushing your teeth. You habitually do this day in and out, why not make exercise part of it?
Join a local club or group that meets at a certain day and at certain times so that way you are locked into making this event part of your schedule. Set your clothes/gear out the night before so you have even one less decision to make in the morning, and that way have a harder time making any excuses as to why you are unable to fit exercise in your day!
Jeff Hoobler is an elite strength and endurance coach with over 30 years of experience coaching athletes of all levels, from beginners to world champions in a variety of sports. He has a degree in Sports Psychology and Exercise Science from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a USAC Cycling coach, MAT therapist, professional bike fitter, and Foundations Training Instructor. In addition to coaching, Jeff is a competitive racer on the road, mountain bike, and cyclocross.