It's hard to avoid stress. The demands of family, work, school, and social obligations can all pile up and leave you feeling frazzled. While you may never be able to cut stress out of your life completely, you can learn to manage it - and exercise is one of the healthiest ways to do that.
Working out relieves physical tension.
Do you ever feel like you carry your stress everywhere with you in your body? Stress is definitely a physical phenomenon, not just a mental one. Muscle tension, aches and pains, and even headaches and digestive problems can all be caused by stress.
Working out is a good way to get rid of all these physical complaints. A long run or a tough set of reps is a great way to release all of that tension you're holding inside you. When your workout is over, you'll feel much more relaxed - both mentally and physically.
Working out gives you a natural rush of endorphins.
It's a well-known fact that exercise makes you feel good, but why? The scientific explanation for this phenomenon is that working out triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals, in your brain. In fact, some researchers think the endorphin rush you get from exercise could be just as effective as antidepressants. When you get your endorphins pumping, you'll feel happier, more competent, and more focused. The best part? You don't need to sweat it out in the gym for an hour to get these benefits. Something as simple as a walk can leave you basking in an endorphin-induced glow afterwards.
Exercise helps you focus.
If your thoughts tend to be in a whirlwind all the time, exercise can help you calm down and focus on one thing at a time. When you're in the middle of a workout, it's hard to think about your to-do list - instead, you're probably putting all your mental energy towards how your body feels. Much of the time, this focus lasts even after your workout is over, making you less stressed and more productive.
A good workout leaves you feeling capable and in control.
There's something intensely satisfying about making it through a tough sweat session. Pushing your limits leaves you feeling strong and competent, and this feeling often carries over to your home or work life. Instead of feeling stressed and out of control, you'll feel calm and confident in your own abilities - and we could all use more of that feeling.
If you've been feeling stressed lately, working out is one of the most effective things you can do to feel better. Lace up your walking shoes or head to the gym for an old-fashioned dose of sweat therapy - you might be surprised at how good you feel afterwards.