Did you know that 44% of Americans feel their stress has increased over the past five years? With the pandemic, that number is likely even higher. Sometimes, it can feel impossible to manage chronic stress, but there are many coping methods that can help reduce your anxiety levels.
Exercising is a great way to manage your stress levels! Read on to learn why working out could be an essential part of improving your mental health.
Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
- It pumps up your endorphins.
When you work out, your brain produces endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that trigger a positive feeling in your body. This can leave you with a “high” that reduces your anxiety.
- It reduces the negative effects of stress.
Exercising has many health benefits that can mitigate the negative ways stress impacts your health. Chronic stress can lead to poor sleep, a low immune system, and aches due to tense muscles. Many people who work out during the day sleep better at night. Improving health through exercise can also lead to an improved immune system and a relaxed body.
- It’s meditation in motion.
Working out is a great way to give yourself time to focus on a single task, allowing you time to step away from the frustrations of your daily routine. It can be a moment to reconnect with your physical body and practice mindfulness. By taking time away from your stressors to care for your body, you can give yourself time to breathe and relax.
- It improves your mood.
After working out, many people report feeling more productive throughout the day. Regular exercise can also lead to increased self-confidence, which often lowers depression.
Tips for Success
- Find an Activity You Love
Nearly any physical activity can help reduce stress. Trying several different types of exercises, such as running, swimming, sports, or yoga, can help you find an activity you enjoy, which will make you more likely to stick with it.
- Start Small
Even ten minutes of working out can have an impact on your mental health. Don’t feel like you need to spend three hours in the gym! By beginning with small exercises, you can also work your way up to longer workouts without feeling overwhelmed.
- Exercise Regularly
Plan your workouts during the day, and stick to it! Exercising regularly will maximize the mental health benefits. Picking a day or time when you know you can work out will also make you more likely to stick with the habit long term.
By: Maddie Aguilar
From Mayo Clinic Staff (2020). Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. Mayo Health. Retrieved from ,Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress.