I'm a self-confessed "stress-pot". It's not an easy admission to make, simply because I hate being stressed. And knowing I stress over little things, stresses me out more.
Without exercise, I'd be locked at home, brimming with stress and depression. I know because I've been there when injured. It's something you only notice if exercise is a central part of your being.
Most people I know who workout regularly say that they use exercise to manage their stress--as well as to look better, be healthier and all the rest.
It seems that if exercise isn't a part of your life, you might be at a disadvantage when it comes to daily stressful situations. By starting to exercise, you can learn to stress less.
That may not be the case for everyone and there are other ways to cope with stress, but for me, exercise is the most natural, effective and cheap coping mechanism. Exercise and stress are closely related.
How Does Exercise Relieve Stress?
If you don't have a very active lifestyle, and often feel strangled by stress and depression, you may want to take note.
Here are the main ways exercise and stress are connected:
1. Body Systems
When stressed, each of your body systems (cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory, muscular etc.) need to interact efficiently for you to respond well. Exercise helps your body systems practice interacting with each other, in a healthy way. This directly leads to a better overall response to stress.
These are your natural pain killers that give you a "high". Although more research is needed, there's no doubt that long periods of moderate to high intensity exercise, does have a happy affect on your emotions.
3. Fight or Flight
This is your natural reaction to any stressful situation. The problem is that much of today's stress doesn't require either physical fighting or running. But your body still provides the chemicals for it, which can be harmful if they remain. The best and most logical way to clear the chemicals, is to actually do some exercise.
4. Rhythm and Flow
Some exercise, like running and cycling, lets you get into a rhythm. That rhythmic flow of a repeat action relaxes your mind. It's a bit like focusing on nothing and everything at the same time. It's your time. Just make sure you keep an eye on where you're going.