Exercise and Stress

Exercise and Stress

We have been told for many years the benefits of exercise for the elimination of stress. Today I would like to share the physical benefits of exercise, the chemical and medical changes that occur in the body, and the possible lifelong benefits that are associated with combating stress.

Physical exercise is one the best ways to manage stress and is a great tension reliever. Getting in better shape helps you mentally as well as physically. Some doctors also believe that it helps your self-esteem with increased performance and a better physique. Even in small amounts of fifteen minutes scattered throughout the day there can be proven results. Given in the right amounts exercise can also improve your work and personal life.

Any kind of change in your life can be a stressor. A new baby is a wonderful addition to a family but this good stress can be detrimental to one?s health. A loss of a job can be a bad stress but how the person handles the stress will determine the daily, monthly and life-long survival of that individual. Exercise can combat or lessen the effects of stress.

When the body exercises there are chemical substances that are similar to opiates which cause a natural high without the negative effects of drugs. Dopamine and norepinephrine is transmitted from nerve cells and helps us feel good and ease pain. They also produce a sense of comfort and euphoria. Hormones that are secreted during a stressful day such as adrenaline, noradrednaline, and the corticoids are burned up by exercise. Exercise gives your body a chance to quit worrying and your system to operate in an efficiency mode as it repairs the damaged cells caused by stress and worrying.

Working out improves the ability to go to sleep faster, increases or fosters memory, energy, level and concentration. Exercise helps with body functions and ailments such as arthritis and other degenerative diseases. It also combats common illnesses such as colds and the flu. Exercise adds years to your life. It has been proven that it can prevent some kinds of cancer, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, decrease LDL with lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, and improve heart function. In women it decreases cancers of the breast and the reproductive system.

Depression is eliminated or decreased as well as a balanced appetite. The U.S. General advices 30 minutes of exercises most days of the week and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 20-60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week with 2-3 days of weight training. So get out there and exercise!


Cooper, Kenneth (1997). Can stress heal? Nashville, TN: Nelson Publishers

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