Relieve Stress with Exercise

By Bruce G. Gilbert
Balanced Fitness
A.C.E. certified, U.C.L.A. ext. certified

Stress is the way our body and mind respond to situations; the feeling we get when we react to stimuli by readying the mind and body for action. The stress response can be beneficial, as it motivates us to deal with situations in work, family, and life. As we deal with the causes of our stress (or stressors), our body and mind return to their natural state, prepared to react when again required.

However, all stress is not healthy. Prolonged stress, as in unhappiness on the job or at home, in relationships or extended projects such as moving, can produce a state of continuous stress that causes our body to excrete hormones and enzymes that do not allow us to return to a more normal and relaxed state. It drains natural reserves, causes us to weaken and depresses the immune system.

It is an accepted fact that regular exercise can reduce stress. It has been called meditation in movement. It improves your mood, and with regular application feelings of self-confidence and well-being increase due to the production of endorphins, the feel-good transmitters that have been called “the runner’s high”, though a nature walk or a vigorous game of tennis or volleyball can produce similar effects. Focusing on a single activity, and the energy and good mood this results in, can help you keep calm and collected in all your endeavors.

There are other ways to manage stress. Regular meditation, yoga, and reducing caffeine, help release endorphins in the body and the brain that reduce the disabling effects of stress. Choosing to avoid needless stress, vexing situations, and impossible challenges can effectively defuse negative stress at the source. Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes a day, like walking, swimming, or calisthenics, even in ten-minute sessions, can definitely help you cope with negative stress in your life.


Bruce G. Gilbert
Balanced Fitness

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NOTE: This publication is not intended for use as a source of medical advice. You should obtain medical advice from your private healthcare practitioner. Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health and that this or any exercise or dietary program will not put you at risk.

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