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There exists an absolutely indefinable relationship between stress and our physical health. Of course we always say that a ''healthy body is a healthy mind'' and vice versa, but today's rampant situation of stress which is mainly considered a mind issue, needs to be addressed maybe more on the physical aspect as well. In other words I'm actually trying to promote physical exercise.
Most people who are health fanatics and exercise freaks swear by their fitness regime as the ultimate stress reliever. I somehow being the lazy creature that I am, have almost grudgingly started agreeing with them. Watching this increasing focus on the importance of exercise, my own perceptions of its importance have changed. This is not only because I started enjoying my own personal fitness routine, but it has also given me a chance to research on the various benefits of exercise as a conscious stress reliever.
Exercise actually decreases the stress hormones like cortisol and increases endorphins in your body. These are the ''feel good'' chemicals which give a positive boost to our emotions thus enhancing our ''feel good'' factor. Cortisol is called the ''stress hormone'' as it is mainly responsible for several stress related changes in the body.
High levels of chronic stress result in more prolonged levels of cortisol in the blood stream . This in turn leads to:
1. High blood pressure
2. Increased blood sugar
3. Suppressed thyroid
4. Impaired cognition
5. Lowered immunity
In today's culture of high stress, the body's stress response is activated so often that it really doesn’t get a chance to go back to normal and results in chronic stress. So we need definitive stress relief measures for the long run. Small releases in cortisol create positive effects leading to an increase in energy, heightened memory, increased immunity and a lowered pain index.
We need to understand that exercise is vital in lowering stress levels. It creates a zen like state and releases pent up energy. Many times anger keeps on escalating upwards and we keep on trying to bring it down. Exercise is a great performer as a stress relief measure in these states of emotional imbalance.
We need to view the benefits of exercise individually in order to appreciate all that it can contribute towards our mental and physical well being to enhance our lives positively.
1. IMPROVED HEALTH
Improving overall health with exercise is very important. Improved health relieves stress and has both long term and short term benefits. Strong immunity saves you from colds, flu and minor illnesses. You can enjoy the benefits of a healthy more fruitful life.
2. MOOD ELEVATOR
Sometimes you wake up feeling just not so good. You wonder how you will get on with your day. Life seems a drag, you really want to churn your feelings for the better. Exercise with music and you can change the rhythm of your thoughts.
Physical activity gets your mind off your problems. Exercise also involves a change of scenario. You can either go to a gym, a park, a bike trail, a long walk in the garden. All these are lovely low stress activities in a calm and relaxed environment. A change of environment is always good for the mind. This way we can change our mental make up, our mood and our stress level.
4. LOOKING GOOD
Exercise makes you loose weight, tone your body, gives you a healthy skin and a smiling relaxed look, your clothes look better on you and you project confidence and strength. ''Look good is feel good''. this applies to most of us.
5. CUTS NEGATIVITY
Exercise keeps frustrations at bay. Boxing, martial arts, weight training etc, provide effective release of pent up energy and negative emotions. You can turn these aggressive negative emotions into positive health measures and enhance the quality of your life.
6. SOCIAL SUPPORT
You get a double dose of stress relief when you exercise. One is the physical benefit of the body sprucing up, the other is the emotional comfort of the bonding on a social level with other people who feel the same as you.
7. RELEASE BUILT UP TENSION
Exercising makes you release endorphins and ''happy hormones'' in the body, this further promotes a feeling of wellness within.
TYPES OF EXERCISE
These may vary from working out in a gym to walking, from yoga to swimming, karate or boxing, as long as you are choosing your own favourite way of exercising, the benefits you accrue will be the same. Get going with it and see your body change for the better and your mind will start enjoying a calm, stress free, relaxed and joyous feel.