19 Apr

How exercise can help you manage stress

April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to talk about stress, how it impacts our mental and physical wellbeing, and how best to manage it. The initiative was started by the Health Resource Network in the United States with the aim of making conversations about stress and stress management more transparent. 

Stress has become an inevitable part of our lives in today's fast-paced world, and it can hinder our ability to function effectively. You may be shocked to learn that 74% of people in the UK reported feeling so stressed that they couldn’t sleep at some point in the last year. Fortunately, there are a variety of approaches we can take to manage stress, with physical activity and fitness being among the most effective strategies  to implement.

So, how can exercise help you manage stress?

Reduces cortisol levels 
Our bodies produce cortisol in response to stress. Several health issues, including weight gain, high blood pressure, and impaired cognitive function, can result from elevated cortisol levels. Our physical and mental health can benefit from a reduction in cortisol, which can be achieved through something as simple as regular, low-intensity cardio.

Further develops sleep quality
Stress can influence our rest quality, which can prompt exhaustion and diminished efficiency throughout our lives. Regular exercise can improve sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, increasing the duration of sleep, and improving overall sleep efficiency.

Enhances endorphins 
Endorphins are naturally occurring mood enhancers that can aid in stress and anxiety reduction. Endorphins, which can improve our mood and assist us in managing stress, are released when we exercise. Why not boost those by getting a quick workout in?!

Provides a sense of control in our lives 
Keeping fit and exercising can help us feel more in control of our lives, which can help us feel less stressed. Good physical fitness will naturally reduce the likelihood of health concerns, which can prevent health anxiety and stress relating to our body. Furthermore, setting and working toward goals while exercising can give us a sense of accomplishment.

Provides social support 
Fitness and exercise can also provide social support, which is crucial for stress management. Joining a gym class or a workout group gives us a chance to meet new individuals and structure social connections, which can assist with decreasing anxiety and loneliness. Unsurprisingly, theseare big contributors towards feeling stressed!

Although stress does not have to take the driver’s seat, it is an inevitable part of our lives and something we will all deal with at one point or another. We can reduce feelings of stress and manage it effectively through many lifestyle changes, including engaging in regular physical activities. 

That is where we come in! In need of a bit of me time or know someone who could benefit? Throughout the month of April we are extending a free day pass to anyone who wants to get into the habit of exercising to manage their stress levels. Click here to take advantage of this offer and check out your nearest Lifestyle Fitness club. 

Take the time to manage the stress in your life today. our body will thank you for it! 

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