Fitness for Stress Reduction
We all know exercise is good for you; you know you should do it really, but sometimes there’s no time and you’re too stressed to fit it in. Just wait one minute, there is good news…any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever.
In 2008, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that over 14% of adults do some form of exercise to relieve stress. Another study was conducted in 2013 by Elizabeth Anderson on the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety.
There are many more studies that have been conducted concerning fitness being used as a means of stress reduction, and it is a subject that is still being explored. Additionally, the benefits of a complete fitness program reach much further than just staying fit and feeling healthy.
Stress vs. Exercise
Doing any form of exercise helps to increase overall health and your sense of well-being. Psychologists have been studying how this works, and have found that a 10-minute walk may be as good as a 45-minute workout. Essentially, these studies show a quick walk or activity can give several hours of relief against anxiety too.
These are your ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters and are released when you do any physical activity, even a good nature hike can release these into the brain. So, aiding in depression and anxiety symptoms is shown.
If you do a few lengths in the swimming pool or have a fast-paced ball game, you will find that any stress or anxiety that has built up during the day will usually be forgotten. This happens subconsciously as you have been thinking of your body movements. Once you regularly do activities that involve a lot of movement and physical activity, you can find focusing on single task helps you remain calm in your normal daily life.
Partaking in regular exercise increases self-confidence, so it can relax you, and relieve some of the symptoms associated with mood swings and mild depression. Exercise can also help your sleeping patterns improve which is normally disrupted due to stress build up.
You may not think meditation comes under the fitness umbrella, but now people are including it as part of their complete fitness regime. When you meditate, your focus is on things happening right now; mindfulness stress reduction meditation is very helpful with helping to cope with stress.
To make your exercise sessions easier, it is advised to try and pick one that you enjoy, and it does not have to be gym sessions or anything fast paced. Actually, it can be as simple as walking, cycling, yoga, gardening or swimming etc.
The effects have had such an effect on the broad health scope, it has led to recommended guidelines being introduced. Many health organizations now recommend at least 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity (an example being brisk walking, and 1 ¼ hours doing a vigorous activity like jogging or swimming etc.), or a combination of the two. These recommendations are sessions that should be completed weekly to give longer lasting relief in the fight against stress.
Asra Carlone currently writes for the leading website Fitandheal.com
She is a health blogger and her interests include topics related to nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.
Asra also enjoys practicing mindfulness through advanced meditation techniques and yoga.