Exercise: Benefits and How it Relieves Stress

By Hanna Park, Health Promotion Team

We are nearing the end of the semester and I know that like me, many of you are feeling stressed. Why wouldn’t you be? Trying to find the time to complete your final assignments and prepare for your final exams… These are all legitimate reasons to feel stressed. Personally, when I am stressed and overwhelmed, my body feels like shutting down and all I want to do is sleep and forget about all the things I have to do. However, this isn’t the smartest way to deal with your problems. Not only are you wasting time but also you aren’t dealing with your stress the proper way.

Benefits of Exercise

One thing that I find always helps me manage my stress is working out. As many of you know, exercise has many benefits to your mental and physical health. Some benefits include:

  • Aids in weight loss and assists with weight management
  • Reduces your risk of developing health problems such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain forms of cancer, and arthritis. Additionally, exercise increases your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. HDL is your good cholesterol, while LDL is your bad cholesterol. Having high HDL and low LDL cholesterol levels decreases your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  • Improves mood. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins give you a feeling of happiness, which is why this is known as the “happy hormones”.
  • Boosts energy.
  • Helps you get better sleep. Sleep helps you to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. However, make sure not to exercise close to your bedtime, as it can prevent you from falling asleep.

Stress and Exercise

Going back to stress, how does exercise help relieve your stress? Here is a list of how exercise helps you with managing stress:

  • Triggers the release of endorphins. As I mentioned previously, exercise helps to promote the release of endorphins. This gives people the feeling of happiness, which helps to combat feelings of stress.
  • Focusing your energy on exercise helps you to reduce your daily tensions through physical activity.
  • Exercising regularly helps to improve your mood, increase your self-confidence, decrease symptoms related to depression and anxiety, and improve sleep. These benefits help to reduce your stress levels. It will also help you to feel in control of your life and physical abilities.

With all the advantages associated with exercise, why not give working out a try? Your mind and body will thank you!

Reference

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469