10 reasons exercise helps manage stress

Feeling anxious? Head to the gym or just take a quick walk around the block.

Shed your daily tensions through activity, and find energy and optimism where stress had been.

Shed your daily tensions through activity, and find energy and optimism where stress had been.


Any type of physical activity will help reduce stress by lowering stress hormones. Here are 10 reasons to increase the number of calories burned through getting your butt off the couch.

1. Exercise pumps up your endorphins (feel-good hormones) and decreases your stress hormones, like cortisol. This is why we have the phrase “runner’s high.”

2. Exercise takes your mind off your problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, “As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.”

3. Exercise improves your mood. Again, that endorphins thing.

4. Exercise helps maintain your waistline. Calories in, calories out. Exercise inspires you to keep exercising, which helps ease stress caused by ill health.

5. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain. That increases blood circulation and the resulting oxygen and glucose in the brain and also moves toxins like the stress hormone out of the body. Exercise also decreases the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. And doesn’t having less of that worry decrease your stress levels?

6. Exercise can help you feel less anxious. According to the American Council on Exercise, “Exercise is being prescribed in clinical settings to help treat nervous tension. Following a session of exercise, clinicians have measured a decrease in electrical activity of tensed muscles. People have been less jittery and hyperactive after an exercise session.”

7. Exercise can help you sleep. Stress impacts the ability to sleep, which can add further stress about the lack of sleep. Exercise briskly at least 2-3 times a week more than three hours before bed to burn off stress hormones. Get 7-8 hours night’s sleep.

8. Exercise can help you look good. Even a little bit of toning makes your clothes fit better and helps clear your skin. And aren’t beautiful people less stressed than ugly ones? We wouldn’t know, either.

9. Exercise can increase general health. “While stress can cause illness, illness can also cause stress, with the physical pain, missed activities, feelings of isolation and other costs that come with it,” says Elizabeth Scott of About.com. “So improving your overall health and longevity with exercise can also save you a great deal of stress in the short run (by strengthening your immunity to colds, the flu and other minor illnesses) and the long run (by helping you stay healthier longer, and enjoy life more because of it).”

10. Exercise can make you feel better about yourself. More endorphins, less cortisol, better looking, better feeling, more focused, better sleep, better mood, better sex, better health. Of course, you feel better. Who wouldn’t?”

Economic crisis? What economic crisis?