Stress. It’s inevitable, we all have it to one extent or another. With all the demands of life and the curveballs it throws our way, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Luckily, there’s a powerful “life hack” out there that you can use to help keep your stress levels in line. Exercise. Exercise not only benefits your physical health but also has scientifically proven benefits of your mental health.
Whenever I’m having a bad or am feeling stressed out I always make it a point to get some sort of physical activity in. Even if it’s only 20 minutes of lifting or a longer than usual walk with my dog, I always feel better after. Knowing there’s a scientifically proven way to boost my mood always motivates me to make exercising a prority.
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, or as some of us have heard the expression, “feel-good” hormones. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, helping you reduce stress and boost your overall sense of well-being. Exercise can also reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and tension. So, the more we exercise, the lower these hormone levels can be!
There’s a reason why people become “addicted to exercise” and most of the time it’s not because of how much weight they can lift, but because of how it makes them feel. I can speak for myself and I’m sure all of you reading this have had a time in your life where you really didn’t want to get that workout in but when it was over you were so glad that you did! Those are those natural endorphins talking, reducing your daily stress and anxiety and giving you a clear mind. See, they work!
So, what if we don’t have time to workout for a full hour? Luckily, you don’t need to do anything vigorous and super time consuming to activate these endorphins. A brisk walk, a bicycle ride around town, anything that gets your heart rate elevated above resting level will do.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, anxious or have that feeling like you’re in a “rut” try to head outside for a 15 minute walk around the block, I’m willing to bet you’ll feel better after!