The Benefits of Exercise When It Comes To Stress Management

By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: April 28, 2017

Imagine living in a world with no stress. Wouldn’t that be nice? Just think about it– peaceful nights of sleep, fewer restless days, fewer headaches– the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world and we are subjected to stress on a daily basis. The best thing we can do is find outlets to manage and deal with stress. There are different outlets to manage stress, such as proper rest, good nutrition, hobbies, etc. One of the most well-known stress relievers is exercise.

Exercise Benefits Mental Health

Obviously one of the many benefits of exercise is improving physical condition and fighting disease, but exercise is also vital for mental fitness. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness, increasing concentration, and enhancing overall cognitive function. Perhaps one of the most well-known facts about exercise is that it increases your brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins (as you may know) are the bodies “natural painkillers.” They are neurotransmitters that reduce the feeling of pain and fatigue, allowing you to continue the physical activity. These endorphins are the reason that people feel so good after a workout.

The Effect of Stress on the Body

Stress affects the body in various ways. It causes the muscular system to tighten up, which is a defense mechanism to avoid injury or pain. This muscle tightening over long periods of time causes tension-type headaches and migraine headaches that are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck, and head. Stress affects the respiratory system, causing you to breathe harder. This can cause panic attacks or even trigger asthma attacks. When the body is stressed it produces epinephrine and cortisol, sometimes called the “stress hormones.” Exercise teaches these various systems (cardiovascular, muscular, nervous, etc.) to communicate more effectively. In other words, think of exercise as a practice run for handling stress. The physical stress that you put your body through during exercise trains these systems to work more efficiently together. So when you start dealing with stress these systems are already better prepared to respond.

The Importance of Exercise For Addiction Recovery

Taking an overall holistic approach to your physical and mental health and knowing how to deal with stress at work aids in both the treatment and recovery of addiction, which is why we incorporate the approach of integrative health at Lakeview Health. It’s also important to note that you can become addicted to exercise and that we don’t promote replacing one addiction with another. Moderation is key. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and are looking for a drug and alcohol rehab, call us now: (866) 704-7692.