Fighting stress with physical activity

Which workout programme is best for reducing stress and managing emotions? How often should you aim to perform it? The Wellness experts at Technogym share the answers:

Which activity should you choose?

Most importantly, choose an activity that you really enjoy, to ensure commitment and motivation. You will work out for longer, and more frequently, and gain better results if you look forward to the activity.

If you want to enjoy calm and space, away from the frenzy of the day, avoid going somewhere crowded such as swimming pools; instead go for a run in the park. Or, if you want to see lots of people and socialise, the gym is the perfect spot.

Choose activities that are not competitive. Although contests and competition have advantages and positive functions, they could prove to be detrimental if you are competitive by nature and a game of five-a-side football or a tennis match may increase your stress levels if you strive to win.
Physical activity, unlike sport, does not involve competition, and is preferable for extremely competitive or highly stressed people.

The calming effect of aerobic activity

A clinical study indicates that marathon runners have a lower level of testosterone, a hormone associated with high levels of aggression.

Practising aerobic activity is recommended for anyone who would like to manage aggression in a positive, healthy way.
Working out to develop strength promotes testosterone, but at the same time increases the production of endorphins, which induce a feeling of well-being. Both types of exercise, aerobic and strength, can be beneficial, and it is very probable that the best results can be obtained by combining both activities.

How often should you work out?

The ideal frequency depends on how much time you have available. Even with short sessions, exercising every day is beneficial.
At least three exercise sessions a week are generally recommended.
However, if you can, try to get as much exercise as possible for example by walking or cycling to work, to the shops or to replace other, shorter journeys you might usually drive .