Most of us understand that we need to exercise to maintain weight and stay healthy, and we often view it as a chore. Besides keeping the pounds off, however, exercise can improve health by lowering stress levels. Exercise reduces stress on two fronts. First, exercise helps balance brain chemistry, but it can also improve self-esteem. These things combined will cause exercise to lower stress.
Exercise is a natural mood elevator. It releases endorphins. which operate as neurotransmitters and cause people to feel more upbeat. They also reduce pain. The release of endorphins does not require extreme exercise. Although, a more intense workout will boost the rate at which the endorphins are released. For example, runners often experience an endorphin increase called a runner’s high.
The long-term stress relief of exercise comes from the way it improves self-esteem. People who exercise regularly feel a sense of satisfaction from keeping up with an exercise routine. They also improve their own body images when they drop weight and build muscle tone. By increasing self-esteem and personal satisfaction, exercise can reduce stress.
Choosing an exercise regime depends on your personal level of fitness and the type of results you desire. Low impact exercises and cardio workouts reduce stress in their own way. Aerobic exercises produce more endorphins than low impact workouts like yoga. Aerobic exercises also work the heart faster, which besides producing endorphins, burns more calories. This makes cardio ideal for weight loss. However, the cardio workouts use more energy and can lead to exhaustion later, but people suffering from insomnia might welcome this feeling.
While practicing yoga does release endorphins, it is not at the same rate as aerobic exercise. However, this exercise technique does reduce stress by developing mind-body awareness. Yoga focuses the mind and stretches the body, which causes people to feel relaxed and calm. Over time, yoga builds long lean muscles. The toned look that yoga provides instills confidence and self-esteem.
All forms of exercise increase oxygen and blood flow. By allowing more oxygen to reach the brain, it becomes easier to focus on the task at hand and let go of the day’s stress. Once the stress-reducing element of exercise is experienced, it changes from a chore to a welcome release.
[DP1]The original article said epinephrine, but the endorphins have better mood elevating properties and cause the runners high. Your call.