Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The importance of exercise in times of high stress

We all know how stressful these trying economic times can be. Whether you are directly effected by the economic turmoil or simply feel "worn out" by all the seemingly endless stream of "bad news", it can be quite stressful. Often times, when we feel stressed, we tend to lose focus on the VERY things that equip us best to handle these stressful times - a healthy, balanced, proper diet, and time for ourselves to exercise (including rest and recovery time). As many of us know and has been supported with numerous studies, exercise is a key component to our overall mental health:

"Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, releases hormones, stimulates the nervous system, and increases levels of morphine-like substances found in the body (such as beta-endorphin) that can have a positive effect on mood. Exercise may trigger a neuro-physiological high-a shot of adrenaline or endorphins- that produces an antidepressant effect in some, an anti-anxiety effect in others, and a general sense of "feeling better" in most."

Michael H. Sacks, M.D.: Exercise For Stress Control

Take this opportunity to "hit the gym" as an answer to the stress you are feeling. Try a "workout date" with your partner (It's free, they don't sell popcorn or cheesecake and you both get sweaty!) or try working out during your lunch break. Walk the steps at work or take an evening walk in the wonderful Georgia fall weather after dinner. There are lots of ways to get a little extra exercise and increase your levels of "feel good" hormones in these stressful times. Next post I will address diet and stress. Be well.