Breaking the Cycle of Stress with Exercise

Stress. It plagues most of us on a consistent basis. Our lives are stressful- work, family, keeping up with household duties, and unexpected occurrences keep us from truly being able to relax. And while you might think that the ONLY thing that can help is a good day at the spa (which we wouldn’t say no to, by the way!), there are few better ways to reduce the effects that stress has on the body than to, you guessed it, get consistent exercise! 

The stress cycle can be brutal, and the first step in breaking it is to recognize that you are in it. Do you feel tense, particularly in your face, neck and shoulders which leads to back pain or headaches? Do you feel tightness in your chest, muscle cramps, and neck pain? How about the inability to get a good night’s sleep? Perhaps you even experience heartburn, stomachache, and other digestion related symptoms? Stress could be to blame! And once you start to experience symptoms like these, you become MORE stressed because of the worry and discomfort. 

So, you end up stressed because your body doesn’t feel at its peak, and that additional stress makes those symptoms even worse. Whatever initially stressed you out could be long gone, but you are still dealing with the aftermath over and over and over again. So what can you do now? EXERCISE!!! 

Physical activity, especially intentional exercise, releases endorphins in your brain. These “feel good” hormones help give you a better outlook on life as your brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. But that’s not all- exercise also helps to relieve the actual symptoms of stress on the body. It helps relax your muscles and relieves all that built up tension, and helps you sleep better too! And when your body feels better, it’s SO much easier for your mind to feel better! 

So let’s break the cycle! When stress and anxiety gets you down, it can’t hurt to get in some physical activity! The worst that could happen is that you take care of your body, and the best (and most likely outcome) that can happen is that you take care of BOTH your mind AND your body!