Exercise Leads To A Stress Free Life

Stress, stress, stress, ugh the stress. It's everywhere. It seems like the perfect nemesis, the more, and harder, you work the more it's there to tear you down. As you move up in your profession, it scales with your success. How do you beat the perfect enemy? Do what you did to become so successful, strategize and understand your opponent.


The typical stress we experience, and as we understand it, is mostly just a hormone referred to as cortisol. This hormone is designed to be released in the blood, that makes the muscles tighter (involuntary response to "danger"), and consolidates energy to processes deemed "unnecessary", things like your immune system.

So, if you are highly stressed you might notice that your neck always feels so tight and you'll get sick regularly (we usually blame "allergies"). These are all symptomatic, of a lot of cortisol, or stress, in your life.



I think you know where I'm going with this, and probably how to fix it, yep it's exercise. However, which exercise is best for getting to your specific fitness goal and reducing stress.

Cardio Cardio is great for stress, like biking and running, it will combat the cortisol with endorphins, which mitigates pain and increases a feeling of euphoria. However, it does not have a lasting effect beyond that day. The recommended use of cardio, to reduce stress, is like that of when you have a headache, take Advil if it already hurts but it's better to just prevent the headache with a healthy lifestyle.

Strength Training Strength training (using weights in order to increase force on the muscle) is the ideal route. The natural stress on your body and mind from strength training is known as hormesis. The idea of hormesis is similar to that of a vaccine. You inoculate yourself with a seemingly non-threatening does of a vaccine and it makes you less vulnerable to disease. Working with heavy weights and generating endorphins, being the vaccine in this scenario. The disease in this case are spikes of cortisol. So, as you get stronger you tolerance for how much more stress (cortisol) is vastly increased so you receive benefits beyond just that day but many days after.

HIIT H.I.I.T. or high intensity interval training is simply a combination of the two styles. This is optimal for those who want the best effects of weight loss and at the same time some defense against stress. Talk with a fitness professional about using exercise to reduce negative side effects of stress. How and when you decide to train can have signifiant long term health benefits. If you're going to put the work in you might as well optimize for benefits.

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