As we all know life is full of stressors, from starting a new job, losing a job, getting married, moving, financial obligations, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of stress can be okay and can even help us perform better. However, many of us tend to deal with an unhealthy level of stress. What many people don’t realize is how effective exercise can be in helping decrease our stress levels.
What happens when we get stressed is our brain releases the natural-occurring chemical, cortisol. What “fights” the cortisol, if you will, are endorphins. Right now, you are probably wondering, “How does knowing this help me?” Well, it is because when we exercise endorphins are released into our brain, thus reducing stress levels, anxiety, tension, and even depression. If you have ever been stressed to the max and decided to go on a heart-pumping run, you probably know what I mean.
Long-term effects of the primary stress hormone, cortisol, will eventually take a toll on your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, heart rate, heart, immune system, digestive system, and the list goes on. For centuries though, yogis and others have understood how proper breathing and physical activity can decrease our cortisol levels and create a calm for ourselves.
So next time you’re stressed, instead of picking up a bad habit such as binge eating, binging on TV, sleeping too much or too little, or binge drinking, pick up your favorite physical activity and let your body do the work and recalibrate naturally! If you’re going to be stressed you might as well get fit!