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How to Utilise Exercise to Combat Stress

Many people use exercise to improve body shape, improve performance and decrease their pain. However, it is well known, and gaining further interest on the benefits to your mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression amongst other mental health issues are extremely complex, yet a simple helpful step to combating the effects of these can be exercise. This may not be the only thing you have to do, yet according to Medlow et al., 2011, 98.5% lawyers believe that exercise has a positive effect on their mental wellbeing.

Data on the benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing don’t stop at decreasing depression, anxiety and stress, but can also increase brain performance, increase memory, increase creativity and decrease cognitive decline.

Even though there are huge benefits, it should be noted that not all exercise is created equal, and more is not necessarily better. Exercise can be a stress on the body. Getting the balance between challenging the body and nurturing the body is a constant dilemma, not only for the corporate athlete but also Olympic athlete, which is why your intensity of session should match where you are at both physically and mentally.

When fatigued and stressed, it may be beneficial to slow your exercise sessions down and make them less intense. The drop in intensity can promote recovery rather than the breakdown of the body, which may increase stress further.

Before exercising, assess how you feel, how you’ve slept, how your energy is and why you are training. If you score low, you may want to take the sting out of your session. Slow movement such as walking, yoga and light resistance training may promote increased brain activity without further stress to the system.

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