Stress affects us all in one way or another, and studies show that it's getting worse. Each year Americans report more stress than the year before, and a majority report that their stress levels create problems in their home or work lives.
So Americans engage in a number of techniques to manage their stress - from trying to relax by watching a movie or television, trying to sleep more, talking to a professional therapist or to family and friends, and listening to music. But what most health care professionals recommend is a regular exercise routine.
Most often recommended as an antidote to stress and anxiety is walking, running, or yoga.
The harmful effects of stress are well documented, including the effects on the brain which is unable to work as quickly, efficiently or effectively when stress levels are high.
But the benefits of exercise are also well documented. Not only can it improve one's physical condition and help fight disease, it can improve one's mental condition and reduce overall stress. That is, when our bodies are in better shape, so are our minds. In fact, while stress drains us of our energy and makes it difficult to concentrate, exercise can help increase our energy levels and ability to concentrate.
This is because exercise - along with meditation, massage therapy, and deep breathing - produces endorphins or chemicals in the brain that make us feel better and in turn improve our sleep and reduce our stress levels.
Studies show that a regular aerobic exercise routine reduces tension, boosts mood, improves sleep, and even improves self-esteem.
So, do your body and mind a favor and continue or begin a regular exercise routine to reduce stress, sleep better, and improve your overall mood.
for exercise recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, and select your age group.