Exercise to Reduce Stress

Increase productivity while reducing stress through exercise Have you ever felt anxious and tried to relax yet it just makes you feel more agitated? You try to figure out what’s bothering you and that doesn’t work either?

We suggest you consider the possibility that you need exercise.

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Cortisol vs Endorphins
? When you worry or something makes you upset, adrenaline, cortisol, lactate and various chemicals are released into your blood stream. This also includes extra fatty acids. Exercise forces your body to burn all these stress side-effects that are associated with belly fat, causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious health conditions.

So rather than taking several hours or all day for this substances to slowly filter out of your blood, exercise burns it all off in twenty minutes, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed. It also burns off the extra fatty acids cortisol has released into your blood stream, removing the health risk associated with triglycerides. More importantly, exercise increases endorphins, your body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost.

Studies ? In a study of rats at the University of Wisconsin, and then again in a Canadian study, they had one group of rats exercise on an exercise wheel, and another group that didn’t exercise. When the rats were exposed to stress, the exercising rats released measurably less norepinephrine into their brains. Norepinephrine is a hormone that produces adrenaline. In other words, the exercising rats had a healthier response to the stressful event.

? British researchers found that exercise not only improved the subjects’ moods, but it improved their creative thinking. They were able to come up with a greater variety of responses. This would ultimately lower anxiety because it is easier to solve your problems if you can come up with better solutions. In the study, the participants did twenty to twenty-five minutes of aerobic exercise. When the researchers posed a problem, the people who had exercised thought up a greater range of strategies to solve it.

Additional Studies
? A study at Stanford University, healthy but sedentary adults who had trouble sleeping and/or sleeping an average of six hours per night, were put on an exercise program for three months. By the end of the study, the exercisers were sleeping about forty-five minutes longer and falling asleep fifteen minutes faster, on average. The ones who didn’t exercise had not improved.

? Evidence suggests that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Biologically, exercise seems to give the body a chance to practice dealing with stress. The cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system. These three systems are controlled by the nervous system. Since all these systems communicate with each other, the more sedentary we get, the less efficient our bodies become in responding to stress.

Long Term Effects of Stress
? While stress can cause illnesses, illness can also cause stress. So improving your overall health and longevity with exercise can also save you a great deal of stress in the short run, by strengthening your immunity to colds, the flu and other minor illnesses and in the long run by helping you stay healthier longer, and enjoy life more because of it.

? Shawn Talbot, Ph.D., “Over the long-term, elevated cortisol may be as detrimental to overall health as elevated cholesterol or elevated blood sugar.” Excessive cortisol release leads to a lowered testosterone: cortisol ratio, a prime marker of anabolic status and the ability to recover from exercise and build muscle. Further, as cortisol continues to increase, chances for muscle atrophy, impaired immunity, vitamin depletion and increased blood pressure occur.

? While stress can cause illnesses, illness can also cause stress. So improving your overall health and longevity with exercise can also save you a great deal of stress in the short run, by strengthening your immunity to colds, the flu and other minor illnesses and in the long run by helping you stay healthier longer, and enjoy life more because of it.

? Shawn Talbot, Ph.D., “Over the long-term, elevated cortisol may be as detrimental to overall health as elevated cholesterol or elevated blood sugar.” Excessive cortisol release leads to a lowered testosterone: cortisol ratio, a prime marker of anabolic status and the ability to recover from exercise and build muscle. Further, as cortisol continues to increase, chances for muscle atrophy, impaired immunity, vitamin depletion and increased blood pressure occur.

Putting it all together:
? Research indicates that life-event stress, inadequate sleep and poor exercise nutrition can lead to elevated levels of cortisol. Scientists believe that this excess cortisol leads to a variety of health problems including impaired carbohydrate metabolism and increased abdominal fat. Within the exercise setting, excessive cortisol can lead to the suppression of the immune system and overtraining syndrome.

? Aerobic exercise is one of the best methods to manage a highly responsive adrenal system. Research has proven that twenty to forty minutes of aerobic exercise reduces anxiety and improves mood, not just while you’re doing it, but for hours afterwards.

One final fact for you to consider!
? Psychologist Robert Dustman, one of the top researchers into the effect of aging on the brain, found that when people exercise, it keeps their brain producing more alpha brain waves. These brain waves are associated with the ability to stay calm under pressure.

? References:
Rod K. Dishman, Ph. D, University of Georgia, Mark Sothmann, Ph. D, Indiana University’s School of Medicine and School of Allied Health Sciences, Shawn Talbot, Ph.D., Rutgers.