One way to minimize feelings of stress is to maximize feelings of relaxation and cultivate a good mood. With exercise, you're able to do both! Exercise is a fantastic stress relief tool because it minimizes stress in several ways (provides a change of scenery, an outlet for frustrations, and a potential social tie-in, to name a few), and can help you to reach a better mood by providing mood-enhancing chemicals and, with practice, less emotional reactivity and greater long-term resilience to stress. In fact, according to one study, researchers have found that a 30 minute walk on a treadmill boosted the mood and well-being of subjects with major depressive disorders.
One issue that many stressed people have with exercise is that it takes time to stay on track with an exercise program. For busy people who already have a full schedule, it's difficult to find a 30- or 60-minute window each day for the gym; for someone feeling overwhelmed, the couch in front of the t.v. may feel much more inviting after a long, stressful day.
If this resonates with you, don't be so quick to throw in the towel! There are a few simple ways you can work stress-relieving exercise into your day without the act in itself adding to your stress or overwhelm:
Exercise For Stress Reduction: Tips For The Busy And Overwhelmed
This week, I encourage you to work in at least one workout--or up your exercise schedule just a bit more than usual. Even small increases bring measurable gains. The following resources can further your success.
Additional Exercise Resources:
Source: Batholomew, J. B.; Morrison, D.; Ciccolo, J.T. (2005) "Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood and Well-Being in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 37(12):2032-2037.
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