By Ulli Ackermann
It has become quite a common habit for a lot of people in stressful jobs and after a stressful day, to compensate by going to the pub for a beer or two or to indulge in comfort eating. And while this may give short term relief by stimulation of the parasympathetic part of the nervous system which is responsible for slowing down and calming the body, it doesn’t target long term stress effects concerning excess adrenaline and cortisol.
Those two hormones, being also called “stress-hormones” are responsible for regulating blood flow, digestion, heart rate and more.
If they are in imbalance, serious health issues may occur sooner or later, be it cognitive symptoms like memory loss, poor judgement or anxiety, emotional symptoms like moodiness, a short temper or even depression as well as physical symptoms like unexplainable aches and pains, frequent colds or even loss of libido.
While research has found connections between stress and lower risks of terminal illness, be it cancer, heart disease or even dementia, studies have also shown that the released endorphins (the “happy-hormones”) help in reducing stress, managing sleep problems and that a strengthened body withstands the daily workload in a much more efficient way.
According to researchers at the Yale Stress Centre, physical activity can actually reverse damage caused by a stressful lifestyle. Stress atrophies the brain; it affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory storage. And while certain types of exercise emulate small dosages of stress to the human organism, the bodies physiological systems that are involved in a stress response have to communicate much closer than usual, all of which may be the real benefit of training regarding stress relief.
So, in a nutshell, if you are stressed, you should exercise, because:
- It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Although it is often referred to as a runner’s high, a set of sprints or a heavy weights session can contribute to this same feeling.
- It’s meditation in motion. After an hour in the studio, some fast paced circuits or an effective interval session, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything else you do.
- It improves your mood. Regular exercise may yield benefits in increased self-confidence and higher energy levels. It also lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. It improves your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress or worsened by existing conditions. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life that puts you back on track and improves life quality to new heights!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ulli-Ackerman-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ulli is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit Finsbury Park and has a diverse sports background ranging from weightlifting to Martial Arts, downhill mountain biking to even semi-professional dancing. His fitness approach is based on a MSc in Sports Science with emphasis on Motion and Performance. This enables him to tailor custom programs for clients of all backgrounds with an assorted range of goals. His main focus lies on body re-composition, body sculpturing and weight loss including a variety of exercise methods to achieve best results. “As a Trainer, I pour my passion and energy into our session to make you work at 100%. Nothing gives better results and leaves you buzzing after as much. I will guide you on the path to a better you and it will leave you healthier, stronger and more energetic!”[/author_info] [/author]