Being ‘stressed out’ is a common phenomenon in modern life, but there are many ways to combat stress and feel more relaxed. One of the best ways is to exercise regularly.
Are you stressed out?
Saying “I'm stressed out" has become a common expression that encompasses a greater truth: When we need to continuously respond to situations that are perceived as dangers, this increases our alertness and decreases our body's efficiency in the long run. It therefore becomes necessary to adopt strategies to recuperate and render the body stronger and more resilient.
How stress affects the body
Stress is caused by any phenomenon that disturbs our state of equilibrium. The body responds to stressful stimuli, like traffic jams, busy shopping centers, and hectic workplaces, by generating an impact on a subconscious level in order to protect it, such as an increased heart rate and increased level of attention. When the stimulus is repeated, resistance occurs, thus resulting in the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol is also known as the ‘stress hormone’, since it is one of the chemical mediators of the body's response to stress, and triggers a series of sensations that alter the body’s metabolism. If you are unable to eliminate or avoid the stressful situation, you might experience an episode of exhaustion, which can affect the body both somatically and psychologically.
Exercise helps to reduce stress
It is very important to combat stress, and one of the most common and least expensive ways to do so is through physical activity. Moving around more causes the brain to produce more endorphins; these molecules are neurotransmitters that target specific areas of the brain, generating sensations of pleasure and relief. Exercise triggers mechanisms that can be similar to the use of certain drugs; even chocolate helps to produce endorphins.
Exercise helps fight depression
Exercise is a great way to fight depression (Saeed, 2010) and other psychological disorders, which are currently on the rise due to the hectic pace of modern life. Running in the park, taking a bike ride in the hills, or working out in the gym are great ways to combat stress and depression. Taking time out from our normal day-to-day activities is important for our overall wellbeing.