Stress Management Through Exercise


Have you had one of those days? You know those days..when nothing seems to go your way. You start out with good intentions and your day just goes to crap. You sit in traffic and hear the same news report every ten minutes repeating how much traffic you have still ahead, You walk into work with a pile in front of you, and it seems to grow no matter your efforts. You are dealing with a chromagnum boss who is unwilling to listen to logic to better the company.  You feel your neck getting hot.

You are still under control, you had good plans for your day and you will be successful  until your spouse calls to tell you to pick up the kids because one missed the bus. Your boss gives you an evil eye as you walk out. You are back to sitting in traffic, the radio repeating, the kids are now fighting in the car. Your stress level is rising. Its a really good thing you get to do this again tomorrow...

There is nothing you can do about external stresses. We are surrounded by left hooks every day. It is life. There are ways individuals can help themselves handle these stresses in a healthy way. One of the most proven methods for relieving the vicious cycle of work and external pressure is through exercise.There is so much data, I can't compile it into one simple blog article. I would never do this topic the justice it deserves.

Did you know that using an elliptical, or treadmill, or cross trainer for 30 minutes will increase levels of soothing brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin ? Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression. Dopamine and serotonin are partly what the anti-depressent medications are trying to recreate. Exercise also increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn


It is important to specifically mention the impact of weight lifting on stress management. Weightlifting is one of the best methods of relieving stress accumulated throughout the day. It allows you to blow off some steam without risking injury to yourself or others, while improving your overall health. People often overlook the mental benefits of weight lifting. Many refer to it as “The Rush”. The brain releasing endorphins brings this on. Endorphins are the brains' way of rewarding you for hard work. The endorphin hormone is also responsible for the satisfaction you get after a hard workout The additional benefits one gets from being a weightlifter can go along way to reduce and manage stress. Better health, the ability to be more active, improved self-image and confidence all come from weightlifting. 


Yoga is another exercise which greatly reduces stress. Yoga's approach is a little different than traditional weight lifting but reduces stress through controlled breathing meditation, mental imagery, and stretching. All positive ways to reduce stress.

I find that no matter how stressed I am before I begin my workout, I walk out feeling calmer, proud, confident and its funny, I can barely remember I was stressed when I arrived. Stress washes away. That is the power of a workout.

Maybe you want to exercise to lose weight or to tighten your belly but please put exercise at the top of your list for stress management and mental sanity.

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  • 2/10/2013 3:28 PM fred wrote:
    it's so true, that weightlifting works against stress, I am off my prescriptions now for antidepressive medicines.
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