Exercise to Beat Stress
By Justine Strauss, BS
Have you ever felt overwhelmed, fatigued, frustrated, irritated and didn’t know why? These are some of the symptoms of stress. Stress is the body’s reaction to rush hour traffic, work deadlines, children, finances and life, to name a few. The body responds to these triggers by a fight-or-flight response, which initiates adrenaline and other stress hormone responses.
The physiologic changes that occur during this fight-or-flight response are increased breathing, rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, rise in blood glucose levels, dilated pupils, dry mouth and muscle tension. The body maintains a state of heightened awareness, which may last for hours at a time if there is no place to focus the energy, such as exercise.
Exercise is one of the best stress busters known to man. By exercising 3-5 times per week for a sustained moderated intensity of at least 30 minutes, the heightened energy zone the body has placed itself in can be eliminated.
Exercise needs to be consistent to work effectively. Exercise releases endorphins necessary to reduce pain, and produce feelings of well-being and relaxation. Sleep patterns will normalize, allowing a peaceful night’s rest. Blood pressures will normalize, as will glucose levels and eating patterns. We all have the ability to reduce our stress levels, whether it’s by meditation, removing the stressful situation, music, in combination with finding an exercise program you will enjoy.