1Life Blog

How Exercise Can Be All You Need To Relieve Stress

Posted by Paul Rayner on 18-Apr-2019 12:46:48
Paul Rayner


Exercise in almost any form has been proven, time and time again, to be an effective stress-reliever.  Not only does being active boost your feel-good hormones, it also acts as a great distraction from day-to-day worries.  If life is getting a bit hectic and it’s leaving you feeling a bit frazzled why not get moving in a bid to manage stress.

Most of us know that regular exercise is required to maintain a healthy body, but it is also vital for good mental health too.  Unfortunately, if we are busy and feeling stressed, one of the first things to suffer is typically our exercise routines. Whether you’re too tired or don’t feel like you have the time to spare, it is easy to talk yourself out it but please note, exercise could be just what you need to regain the balance in life.

If you are struggling to keep up with your usual routine, look at ways that you can fit manageable amounts of exercise in to your day.  For example, getting out for a lunchtime stroll or going for a relaxing swim on your way home could help. Even short 10-minute sessions of activity throughout the day can go a long way to relieving stress levels.

Get more pep in your step

If you still need a little more convincing to get moving, here are some of the proven benefits of exercise when it comes to combating stress.  

Exercise gets the endorphins flowing  

Being active increases the production of the natural feel-good hormone called endorphins.  It is these endorphins that give you the natural high you feel after exercise and remain in your system long after you have finished exercising, helping to boost your self-esteem.

Time out

Whichever form of exercise you choose, whether it’s a game of tennis, swimming lengths in the pool or an evening jog, by the time you’ve finished, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten about the day’s stresses or your endless to-do lists as you’ve been too engrossed in your workout .  This gives you some much-needed time out and is a chance to re-focus. You might even find that regular exercise helps you to cope with stress better as well as improving your efficiency as you become more focused.

Improve your mood

Not only does regular exercise increase your self-confidence, it can also help you to relax, while reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.  All of these benefits can help to lift your mood. Regular physical activity can also improve your quality of sleep, meaning you wake up in the morning with a clearer head and a positive outlook ready to face the day.

Getting started

Now you know what an important role exercise plays in easing stress, here are a few tips to get you started.

Choose your form of exercise carefully

Whether you are new to exercise of looking to change your routine, it is worth giving some careful thought to the forms of exercise you enjoy.  By choosing activities that are enjoyable you’ll be more likely to want to incorporate them in to your regular routine and will look upon them as relaxing time-out rather than a necessary chore.  The idea is to start to associate exercise with unwinding and make it an important part of your stress-management.

Make it sociable

When life leaves you feeling stressed, talking to friends can be a huge help and combining it with exercise is even better.  Exercising with a friend not only provides a regular reason to meet up but they can also keep you on track, which can act as a great motivator.  Having a friend or workout buddy with a shared fitness goal can be beneficial to you both, helping you to get the most out of your exercise routine and reap the stress-busting benefits of exercise together.

Pencil it in

Once you’ve decided on your chosen exercise and possibly enlisted the help of a friend, the next thing to do is to schedule in regular exercise sessions throughout the week.  Again, this should be a time to suit you, so your exercise sessions feel enjoyable. If you aren’t a morning person, don’t look to schedule a 6am gym session – the chances are you won’t make it.  Likewise, don’t schedule in a workout if you know you are going to be clock-watching to get to a meeting. Settle on times that will allow you to focus purely on your exercise and zone out from everything else.

Whichever form of exercise you decide is right for you, don’t think of it as a chore or another thing on your to-do list, look upon it as an opportunity to unwind while benefiting your physical and mental health.  By choosing forms of exercise that you enjoy you will be more likely to stick to your new routine and see it as an important part of your stress relief.

For more information about exercise classes, the gym and all the other activities and facilities available at your local 1Life centre simply contact us.