Ask one of the happiest people you know if they have ever experienced a stress-filled day, and chances are they will say yes. In fact, studies have shown that seven in ten adults experience daily stress or anxiety that moderately interferes with their lives.
Naturally, we are all individuals, and how we choose to deal with the stress and anxiety in our lives is our own choice. Some choose to go out and have fun with family and friends, while others turn to food and alcohol in a social setting.
Sure, it is fun to go out and have some wings and beer with friends, while watching the big game, but those empty calories could end up costing you in the long run. Perhaps the people who choose to work out after a stressful day are ahead of the game?
Cortisol and Adrenaline, the Stress Hormones:
Whether you are dealing with a stressful day at work, a car accident, fighting with a family member or friend, experiencing a breakup, or even dealing with financial difficulty, your body produces the hormones cortisol and adrenaline to deal with the stress your body is feeling.
You may have seen the commercials saying that stress produces cortisol, and cortisol produces belly fat. Those are the same commercials that tell you diet and exercise combats cortisol and slows its effects on your body. Exercising would kill two birds with one stone. You could slow the effects of cortisol and help relieve the stress you feel.
Endorphins, the Body’s Natural Relaxer:
Anyone who participates in any type of aerobic or cardio exercise will tell you they feel like a million bucks after they have finished. Whether they are experiencing pain from an injury or stress and anxiety because of their day, they are able to reduce the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline by getting up and moving.
Choosing to power walk a few miles or run a few miles on the treadmill jump starts your body’s ability to reduce the amount of stress it feels through a behavioral and chemical basis. Exercising releases endorphins throughout the body, alleviating the pain the body feels and elevating overall mood. A solid 20 minutes to a half an hour of aerobic or cardio exercise can reduce the fatigue you feel and improve your overall alertness, concentration, and cognitive function.
Go ahead, get some air and take a walk. Once the endorphins kick in, your body will thank you in more ways than one.