National stress awareness day and the benefits of exercise

November 2nd 2016

Stress can be a real killer, both in the workplace and in our day to day lives. Stress serves a solid purpose in human biology, but our modern lives have brought about a surplus of causes that haunt us from day to day. When we are faced with a challenge, or a threat to our well-being, the body experiences stress. Whether you’re dealing with a job that puts you under tremendous pressure, or face struggles in your life or relationship that leave you in a state of constant worry, stress can be a real killer. Stress Awareness Day was set aside as time to be aware of the stress in our lives and how it affects us.

Exercise is essential:

It’s probably no surprise to you that regular exercise can be a powerful stress-buster. Are you curious about the science behind the phenomenon, though? There are three critical ways that exercise helps you overcome stress.

First, a brief workout promotes the production of several vital hormones (e.g. endorphins) that regulate your neurological system. At a biological level, stress does real damage to your brain and nerves. Exercising regularly helps you to heal and get back to normal.

Second, proper exercise activates your entire body and your brain. It forces all of your different systems (nervous, cardiovascular, renal, muscular) to work together. This burst of activity helps “train” your body to operate more efficiently. That doesn’t just translate into fitness and health. It also helps you cope with stress better on a biological level.

Finally, there’s a counterintuitive chemical reaction brought on by exercise that helps you fight stress. Exercising strenuously produces cortisol. This is the same hormone your body secretes when you’re placed in stressful situations. How can this be a good thing? Because regular exercise teaches your body how to manage cortisol levels better and bring them down to normal faster.