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The Effects of Exercise on Stress

The Effects of Exercise on Stress

Stress levels are increasing! Research published in 2016 revealed that stress affecting the working population accounted for 30 million days being lost in the preceding 3 years and for 43% of all days off in 2014/15. So how can we best manage our stress levels? One way to do so is…. Exercise!

Exercise has been researched to have a proven benefit on the reduction of stress levels.  Whether you experience low level everyday stresses or more long term stress it is beneficial to incorporate exercise into your daily or weekly routine.

The form of exercise does not matter, as long as it suits you.  It could be an hour of yoga, a woodland walk, or a long distance run.  Exercise has been shown to boost the production of endorphins, your bodies ‘feel-good’ chemicals, which provide the enhanced feeling of well being after an exercise activity.  Endorphins help to modulate appetite and enhance immune response.

Exercise also assists with the process of relaxation which, in turn, reduces stress levels.  After a fast paced game of badminton or a few lengths of the swimming pool your body and mind is focussed upon the current task, and sheds the daily tensions.

Participating in regular exercise has been shown to improve overall energy levels, optimism and self-confidence.  It has also been shown to improve sleep quality.  All of these factors assist in lowering the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.

As well as managing stress, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases when performed at a moderate intensity.  This is when your heart rate increases and you break into a sweat.  Another way to determine if you are working at this level is that you are able to talk but would be unable to sing a song.  Types of exercise could include fast walking, aqua aerobics, riding a bike or even mowing the lawn!

When considering taking up new exercise it is important to choose an activity that you enjoy which will help to keep your levels of motivation high.  It is also important to gradually build up your levels of exercise.  This reduces the risk of injury that may occur if you start participating at too high a level.  If you have not exercised for a while, or you suffer from health issues then it is advisable to visit your GP prior to starting a new exercise regime.

At The Horder Centre in Crowborough and our outreach clinics in Tunbridge Wells, Seaford and Eastbourne, a number of exercise classes are run by our physiotherapists and fitness Instructors. These include Classical Pilates, Modified Pilates, Fitness for Over 50’s, Balance and Flexibility and Lower Limb Stability classes.  For more information on class costs and timings, please visit Health and wellbeing classes page.

We hope that through our classes you will enjoy meeting new people, have fun and of course de-stress!

by Hannah Munn, MSK Clinical Quality Manager for Horder Health

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