Exercise lowers your stress level, but how? 5 explanations!

Exercise lowers your stress level, but how? 5 explanations!

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After a long day at work, hitting the gym may be the last thing on your mind. Still, it's important to move. Regular exercise burns fat, improves the cardiovascular system, increases oxygen uptake, reduces the risk of diseases, lowers your blood pressure and has all kinds of other positive effects. Reducing stress is also part of this. But how can exercise reduce stress? In this article, we'll take a closer look at this. Are you reading along?

Where does stress come from?

Every day you get to choose something for you. You are stimulated all day long, especially at work or in your studies, and that can cause stress. It is not always easy to find out whether you suffer from too much stress.

There are a number of signs that may indicate that the balance between stress and relaxation is disturbed:

  • Are you tired faster than usual?
  • Do you sleep worse? - Do you not wake up rested?
  • Are you more irritable than usual?
  • Do you find that you don't have the energy to do the things that normally come easily to you?
  • Do you often suffer from negative thoughts?
  • Is your motivation hard to find (at work, private life and for sports)?

If you suffer from the above points, then it is important to do something about it! Many people who exercise experience that they can clear their head with this or that it calms them down. And often that is certainly the case.

Two important substances are released during exercise: Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) on the one hand and Endorphins on the other. Both substances support the hippocampus in the brain. The hippocampus inhibits the production of the well-known stress hormone cortisol.

With a persistently high cortisol level, the hippocampus will unfortunately also function worse. The stress then increases further. A well-functioning hippocampus is therefore extremely important for stress reduction. Break this negative spiral by making the hippocampus work properly again and how do you do that? Right, by moving! Sport can really help you to find your inner peace again. We give you some examples.

  1. Sport influences your hormone balance

The hormone endorphins are released by exercise and this makes you feel good. The stress hormone cortisol is broken down faster. This makes you feel relaxed. People with long-term stress have elevated blood pressure. Exercising lowers your blood pressure and is better for your health
  1. More energy

Stress makes you feel lethargic. You don't feel like anything that requires extra effort. Ideally you want to sit on the couch and do nothing. That's when it's important to exercise. Exercising gives you an energy boost and makes you feel vital.
  1. Positive feelings

Exercise has a positive effect on your overall psychological state, such as your feelings and emotions. After you exercise you feel better because the endorphin hormone produced also gives a feeling of happiness. This way you can break the spiral of negative feelings. You feel proud of yourself, happy with your achievement. Your sense of self-esteem grows. Even if you don't suffer from stress yet, you can make sure you feel even better through exercise. It can make your body more muscular, positively stimulate your mind and of course you can lose weight through exercise. All this will ensure that you are (again) feeling top notch!
  1. Release valve for frustrations

When annoyances or frustrating situations pile up, you can experience stress. Intense forms of exercise such as boxing and weight lifting can provide effective release of these negative emotions. Thus, you will transform these potentially unhealthy emotions into motivated emotions. So what are you waiting for? Go to the gym!
  1. Sleep is very important against stress

Have you had another sleepless night, staring at the ceiling? Sleeping with stress can be difficult. Stress is therefore the number 1 cause of sleeping problems. When you're stressed, your body is full of the stress hormone cortisol, which keeps you restless. And in order to sleep well, your cortisol hormone level must be low.

Keep moving!

It really doesn't matter in what way you move your body. Running, cycling, walking, soccer, yoga, Pilates, swimming or boxing. Every sport you practice will ensure that you will produce happiness hormones, resulting in less stress.

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