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Why Your Workout is the Best Way to Manage Stress

By October 6, 2016Live, Think

Do you feel like pulling your hair out or eating your sorrows away when at school or a big exam is approaching? 

Let’s face it: stress is unavoidable in life, especially for college students. As a young adult, you are learning to budget on your own, you’re away from your friends and family, you have demanding classes, and you want to balance a social life on top of it all. It’s a lot.

People use a number of methods to manage stress, including (but not limited to) eating, listening to music, sleeping, socializing, painting, exercising, and cleaning.

study conducted to understand the relation between physical activity and stress tolerance found that exercise was a significant protective factor against stress. Physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. So if you are feeling extra anxious or you have a big exam coming up, go for a run, take a boxing class, or run your school’s stadium stairs

How could a workout help with stress?

Another study tested the association between exercise and brain chemicals released in times of stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise induces the release of endorphins, which is what produces the famous “runner’s high“. Half of the brain’s supply of norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter, is made in the part of the brain that deals with emotion and stress and it plays a direct role in stress response. Some antidepressants increase the brain’s concentrations of norepinephrine. Exercise decreases depression and anxiety by enhancing our ability to respond to stress through the release of endorphins like norepinephrine. 

Not only does regular exercise help with your stress levels and depression, but it also improves your sleep patterns. Sleep is disrupted by stress, depression, and anxiety. Insomnia and depression have a strong connection. Therefore, working out will help with stress and sleep, and sleep also helps with depression, anxiety, and stress.

Physical activity can cause immediate stress relief. If you have been studying for 4 hours straight for an exam, you may find it helpful to take a study break and go for a run. Exercise also improves your memory and gives your mind and body a boost of energy when you return to study for that exam. Here’s a workout to try when you’re short on time.

So maybe it’s time to add workouts to your stress-busting toolkit. Your body and mind will thank you!

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Author Laura Dziubyk

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