Exercise counters stress because it generally makes you feel good. Studies resoundingly show that exercise improves mood. Partly due to the release of beta-endorphins during and after the exercise, which are feel-good hormones. Also, the resulting feelings of achievement and self-efficacy (I CAN do this stuff) are part of the picture.
Your body’s stress response is to prepare it for a sudden explosion of muscular activity in order to escape or fight. You reduce this tension if you use it for the purpose of exercise, rather than stewing in the middle of a frustrating time-wasting meeting.
There is some evidence that regular exercise leads to a smaller stress response to various psychological stressors.
Here is the important bit : Exercise enhances mood and blunts the stress-response only for a few hours to a day after the exercise session. Therefore, you need to exercise regularly to maintain the positive effects it has on stress levels.
Some research also suggests that sustained aerobic forms of exercise may be best for stress reduction, for twenty minutes minimum, a few times a week. If you’ve made the decision to exercise, then twenty minutes may not be too much to ask.
Finally, as I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog, it has to be a type of exercise you enjoy, otherwise it will add to your stress!
Time to don trainers and trackies for a quick blast in the outdoors.