There is a negative correlation between exercise and stress, meaning as the levels of one (exercise) go up, the levels of the other (stress), go down - and I believe if you ask any active person, he or she will agree.
Go beyond the usual "count to ten" and take a walk. Exercise such as a brisk walks can reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and can enhance overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
"When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Or, if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Exercise can also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects." - Anxiety and Depression Association of America
"Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression
suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute
workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate
depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary,
they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver
several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache." - Anxiety and Depression Association of America
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, patients who exercised for 90 minutes a week reduced their symptoms of depression compared to those who just received usual care. Although I'm not usually a big believer in government studies, I actually believe this one. As someone who has struggled with depression, I know - first hand - that regular exercise relieves my depression.
Want to learn more about exercise and stress?
I recommend Department of Health and Human Services
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