From choosing activities you enjoy and doing a non-competitive sport, to going for a walk and doing short sessions of aerobic activities – there’s a number of ways to reduce stress.
Choose activities you enjoy
Choose the activities that you enjoy the most, so you can do them for longer and get the most out of them. If you like to want to reduce stress levels by getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, avoid crowded swimming pools and have a run in the park; or if you like to see a lot of people and have a chat – then the gym could be more ideal.
Choose non-competitive activities
Choose activities that are not competitive. Although competing does have its advantages, it can be a disadvantage if you tend to be too competitive and especially if you lose. A game of football or a tennis match might become catalysts of stress.
Aerobic activities such as running, walking, swimming or cycling have a calming effect as a result of the cyclical action. One study has shown that marathon runners have a lower level of testosterone, a hormone associated with high levels of aggressiveness. Practising aerobic activities is recommended for those who consider themselves aggressive.
How certain sports can affect stress levels
Physical activity is a great way to channel negative emotions, stress and aggressiveness, but in certain sports, if it’s done too intensely, it can create undue stress which could lead to an increase in aggressive behaviour. But, this is not very common. Physical activity, if done on a regular basis, especially in a conscious and responsible way, can only have benefits.
Regular physical activity is important
Short sessions where exercising every day is good for reducing stress levels, or at least three times a week. Moving in general as much as possible is ideal; walking or riding a bike to work, walking to the shops, and around town. And sex can have its benefits too as it relaxes the muscles and releases emotional tension.