by Lisa Deacon
The StressEraser is a natural product that helps to reduce stress quickly by synchronizing your breathing with your heart rate. However, there is another natural way to relieve stress that also involves the heart rate and can be used alongside the StressEraser to leave you not only calm, but fit and healthy too: it’s exercise.
Researchers have been linking the benefits of exercise to the reduction of stress for several years and it’s not just a method of stress relief for the gym goers amongst us either.
Anyone who takes regular, moderate exercise (including anything from a gym workout, a brisk walk, a game of squash or an aerobic class) will begin to notice both mental and physical changes that are apt to leave them feeling calmer, happier and healthier. Here are some of the ways that exercise can positively benefit the brain, body, and lifestyle:
Brain function is the major cause of stress. Exercise changes brain function in a positive way as blood flow to the area increases, which means that oxygen and blood sugar to the brain also increases. This will help you keep a clear, sound head when you are on the brink of becoming stressed as the increased blood flow helps to quickly clear toxic waste products that occur when you have a lot of brain activity going on at once.
Aside from this, exercise is well known for releasing neurotransmitters in the brain called endorphins. These feel-good signals are then sent around the body promoting a sense of positivity and well-being. They also leave you feeling motivated and pumped up which means that the more exercise you do, the more eager you will be to do more. And more is definitely good.
Research conducted by scientists at Princeton indicated that, over time, regular exercise can build up a defense to stress. Concentrating on two groups of animals, the results showed that those who had been on a six week aerobic program demonstrated a ‘biochemically calm state’ afterwards whereas those who hadn’t done the exercise still reacted to stressful situations. This suggests that exercise can actively help the brain to fend off hormones and chemicals that trigger stress.
When it comes to physical health and stress it really is a vicious circle. Many major diseases (such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes) are linked in some way or another to stress. The knowledge that one has such a disease will understandably cause more anxiety and stress, and so the condition will worsen. Exercise is a great way to minimize the chances of developing one of these diseases in the first place as it will reduce blood pressure and excess body fat among other things.
In a similar way, stress can also be a cause of putting on extra weight (which also exacerbates medical conditions) as it encourages production of the cortisol hormone which increases fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area. Battling this with exercise is a great starting point. Sometimes people also use supplements such as performance enhancers to really get their energy levels rocketing and their body fat shifted.
Glyco Energy states that these can support increases in fatty acid metabolism and energy levels. And let’s face it, who doesn’t feel great after losing a few pounds? As your waistline shrinks, your self-esteem will grow making you less susceptible to anxiety, bad moods and low confidence – other conditions that can lead to feeling stressed.
Setting yourself physical challenges and goals with your exercise will also help you to recognize and celebrate personal achievements. So in many ways your physical triumphs will have a positive effect on your mental health and stress levels.
Many people find that a swim, jog or gym session after a long day can help them to relax. This is because exercise acts as the perfect distraction to your worries. Your body becomes so focused on the movements and rhythms of your body that you literally forget about the things that were making you stressed. So pencilling in an hour of exercise per day will be a worthwhile addition to your routine.
Ensuring that your choice of exercise is something that you enjoy is also vital. Walking, cycling, dancing and even gardening are all great forms of exercise, so focus on those that make you happy to keep your mood elevated from one day to the next. You will also find that all of this extra exercise will help you to sleep, allowing your body to physically repair itself which will leave you feeling refreshed, calm and ready to go the next day.