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The Science Behind Why Exercise Is Key to Beating Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 300 million people globally are affected by depression and anxiety. While both these conditions can have a severe impact on a person’s overall well-being, exercise has emerged as an effective tool for managing the symptoms of these conditions. Numerous scientific studies over the years have proven that regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety levels in people of all ages. In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind why exercise is key to beating stress and anxiety.

Exercise releases feel-good hormones

Physical activity is known to trigger the release of various chemicals in the brain, including endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These chemicals, also known as feel-good hormones, improve mood, and reduce stress and anxiety levels. Endorphins, in particular, are known to reduce the perception of pain and induce feelings of euphoria. During exercise, this chemical is released, which creates a sense of happiness and relaxation in the body.

Exercise improves physical health

Regular physical activity has a host of physical health benefits such as weight loss, improved cardiovascular health and reduced inflammation. However, these benefits are also linked to improved mental health. Exercise releases cytokines, which are proteins that reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a key driver of stress and anxiety, and it’s no surprise that reduced inflammation levels lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Exercise promotes mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your thoughts, feelings and the world around you. Exercise can help achieve this state of mindfulness. During exercise, the focus is typically on physical exertion and breathing, which encourages a mindful state. This allows you to let go of the worries and fears that cause stress and anxiety, and focus completely on the present moment.

Exercise improves self-esteem

Many people who suffer from stress and anxiety also battle with low self-esteem. Exercise, however, has been proven to improve self-esteem. When you exercise regularly, you feel a sense of accomplishment, and this can lead to increased confidence levels. Also, exercise helps achieve fitness goals, which leads to a sense of pride and fulfillment.

Overall, exercise is an effective tool for managing stress and anxiety levels. While it may not solve all your problems, regular exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of these conditions. The science behind exercise, the release of feel-good hormones, improved physical health, cognitive benefits of mindfulness and improved self-esteem, all play a role in why it’s so effective. So, if you’re looking to reduce your stress and anxiety levels, consider incorporating exercise into your daily routine. The results may surprise you.


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