Move More, Stress Less: How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?

Fitness

Move More, Stress Less: How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?

By The Sculpt Society

Life can get pretty hectic. Whether you’re studying for a final exam, prepping for an interview, or just feeling a little overwhelmed in general, it’s important to have a go-to stress management method to help you unwind. One of the best methods is moving your body. So how does exercise reduce stress to help you stay healthy and happy? Let’s break it down and explore some specific ways workouts can help.

Release of Endorphins: the feel-good hormones

Moving your body isn’t just about physical fitness, it can help with mental fitness too. Exercise releases endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good hormones that can lift your mood and give you a sense of overall well-being. If you’ve ever heard someone talking about a “runner’s high,” they’re referring to that big boost of energy you feel after wrapping up a good workout. Not only do endorphins help improve your mood, they can also act as natural painkillers.

Cortisol Regulation: how exercise helps balance stress hormones

When looking at how exercise reduces stress, managing cortisol levels is key. Our bodies release cortisol — also known as “the stress hormone” — when we experience physical or mental stressors. Chronic stress can cause excessive cortisol production, which can lead to health issues like anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and impaired immune function. The good news is that exercise can redirect that excess energy, putting it toward your workouts and away from your stressors. Regular exercise helps you keep cortisol levels in check and prevents them from spiking too high.

Cardiovascular Exercise: how cardio helps calm the nervous system

A heart-pumping cardio workout like running or dancing can calm your nervous system in a few different ways. First, it increases blood flow to the brain, delivering more oxygen and nutrients that help nourish your brain cells. Second, cardio helps with the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine — natural chemicals in our bodies that bring on feelings of happiness and pleasure. And as an added bonus, repetitive motion and physical exertion can distract you from your stressors.

Body and Mind: how combining exercise and mindfulness reduces stress

Mindfulness alone is a great way to improve your mental focus, calm your mind, and reduce anxiety. But the real winning combination is combining mindfulness and exercise, which can lead to better emotional control and a deeper sense of relaxation. Practices like yoga and meditation, which blend physical movement with breath control, can take your mind off your stressors and allow you to be more present in the moment. 

What’s Right for You: finding the routine for your stress management needs

Everyone’s different, and what works for one person may not work for you. That’s why finding the right exercise routine for your stress management needs is so important. Choose activities you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle so it’s easier to stick with them. And remember: The goal is to move more and stress less, so find what makes you happy and go with it.

Exercise and Sleep Quality: the relationship between fitness and rest

Moving your body is a big part of stress management, but so is letting it rest. The good news is that physical activity can actually help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more refreshing sleep. And the better your sleep, the better your mood, energy levels, and overall ability to handle stress. Adding exercise to your daily routine can create a positive cycle where better sleep reduces stress and makes it easier to keep up with your workouts.

Ready to Reduce your Stress?

Whether we’re talking about the release of endorphins, balancing cortisol, calming the nervous system, or improving sleep, the benefits of exercise are worth every drop of sweat. And now that you know how exercise reduces stress, why not give it a try? From sculpting and dance cardio to yoga and meditation, The Sculpt Society has your stress-busting workouts covered. Find an exercise routine that works for you — your body and mind will thank you.

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Move More, Stress Less: How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?

Move More, Stress Less: How Does Exercise Reduce Stress?

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