Saturday, 30th July 2022

Exercise for Stress – Guest Blog

Dear Reader
It is time that you had a relief from me banging on about the virtues of exercise – so today here is someone else banging on about it! Today’s guest blogger is John Adams with a brief biography at the foot of the article. Thank you John.

7 Ways Physical Exercise helps Relieve Stress

Many people suffering from anxiety, depression, and various other mental disorders are advised to work out and engage in physical activity. Movement of the body is essential for mental and physical health, since the two are ultimately interconnected. Stress can be associated with many different emotions, such as annoyance, sadness, anger, and fear. Emotional eating is a common mechanism used to cope with stress, which can provide temporary relief. However, eating every time you are stressed can result in several health issues like binge-eating disorder, obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Physical exercise beats any other remedy and medication to combat stress, and here’s why:

1.     Exercise generates Endorphins

When we are stressed, the endocrine glands in our body produce the stress-hormone ‘cortisol’ in excessive amounts. Too much cortisol in the body can disrupt all its functions and cause severe depression. When we exercise, our brain secretes a group of hormones called ‘endorphins’ that are known to suppress cortisol levels. Endorphins have an analgesic effect, i.e. they relieve pain and stimulate pleasure. For this reason, people feel good after breaking a sweat or physically exerting themselves.

2.     It increases Neurogenesis

Physical exercise spikes the rate of neurogenesis in adults, which is the development and growth of neurons in certain parts of the brain. Increased neurogenesis is known to calm the brain by counteracting chemicals that give rise to anxiety and depression. The process also plays a vital role in preserving cognitive functions of the brain, so at the end of the day exercise prevents mental decline that could lead to memory loss and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

3.     Exercise promotes Mindfulness

Strenuous physical activity challenges the body and involves the mind. When we focus all our energy on a workout routine, our thoughts are automatically directed towards it. For example, when we’re playing tennis, all our senses converge on the movement of the ball. As a result, we lose track of all intrusive thoughts and live in the moment. Mindfulness allows us to let go of the past and future, so we can concentrate on the present only.

4.     It builds Confidence

Physical exercise paves the way to our fitness goals, and we can all agree that a fit body equals a happy mind. Depression is frequently related to low self-esteem; hence, believing in oneself is vital to achieve personal satisfaction. Physical exercise shapes and tones the body, so you look good and feel confident about approaching better prospects. Confidence motivates a person to take risks and advance in life, whereas lack of confidence brings a person to a standstill, which is emotionally devastating.

5.     Exercise lowers Blood pressure

Physical exertion consumes frustration, which is in fact pent up negative energy. Stress often leads to high blood pressure and headaches that can be overcome by exercising. When you strain yourself physically, your body warms up and your blood vessels expand. Therefore, blood flow improves and the pressure on your cardiac system lowers. When you sweat, the body dissipates heat and cools down, which is relaxing to the nerves.

6.     It strengthens the Heart

Cardio exercises increase the heart rate and help build stamina. People who regularly engage in intense cardio workouts are able to develop a tough immune system and increase their survival skills. A strong heart grants better control over emotions whilst invigorating the whole body (including our brain). People with a strong heart don’t break under pressure and tend to be more productive than the average person, so they are less susceptible to stress and anxiety.

7.     Exercise beats Fatigue and improves Mood

Stress is emotionally exhausting, which is why people suffering from depression feel tired and drained all the time. It can be difficult to convince oneself to participate in physical activity in such a psychological state. Since exercise provides so many physical and mental benefits, you must give it a try. An active body effortlessly eradicates fatigue and makes you feel invincible. You will gain the strength to accomplish your goals, which rapidly uplifts the mood and spirits.


Author Bio

John Adams is a paralegal and lifestyle blogger who concentrates on health/fitness, life hacks, personal injury law, and home-improvement. He encourages readers to fight for their rights and overcome obstacles holding them back. He believes that every person can improve the quality of his/her life by thinking positive and making better choices.

2 responses to “Exercise for Stress – Guest Blog”

  1. Rosie Lewis says:

    Another great piece- thank you Hugh and thank you John. I love the sentence ‘An active body effortlessly eradicates fatigue and makes you feel invincible.’ As Hugh often says exercise in any form is a ‘wonder drug’…
    The challenge for many is that unlike taking a tablet, it does require effort… and that’ can be real barrier – young mums with two jobs and toddlers and others who are time-poor will struggle, and for others it’s pain. fear or lack of knowledge on how to start. Within the NHS we need to work out how to unlock this magic for more people…

    • Hugh Bethell says:

      Many thanks Rosie – very pertinent. There are many very real practical obstacles to taking exercise – and a lot of less real perceived obstacles. Motivation is very important but there needs to be political will and will to provide help to overcome barriers. I expect that the NHS will need to develop a bit of focus here. Could a requirement to record exercise habit in such conditions as obesity, diabetes and hypertension (with FU data) become a QOF item?

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