What is Acute stress?
What is Chronic stress?
The following diagram (adapted from The American Institute of Stress)sums up some of the effects stress can have on your
Fighting stress with exercise: Time to get physical
According to the Department of Health in London, “Movement is medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.”Regular physical activity increases cerebral blood flow, changes hormone levels, enhances nutrient intake causing increased energy and concentration levels.Physical activity may offer an alternative approach to reducing or managing stress.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “cross-sectional studies on adults who are employed have found that highly active individuals tend to have lower stress rates compared to low active individuals.Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain how physical activity may reduce the harmful effects of stress. Physical activity reduces arousal (i.e. enhances mood due to distraction from worries or biochemical changes) or increases positive health behaviours during periods of stress (i.e. decreased smoking and healthier eating habits). It has also been suggested that the higher levels of fitness brought about by physical activity result in a more efficient stressregulation (i.e. reduced secretion of hormones, lowered blood pressure) or enhanced recovery from stress. These effects are referred to as stress-buffering”.
Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. Exercise has some direct stress relieving benefits:
1)It increases endorphin production: Physical activity helps to increase the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
2) It's meditation in motion: Exercise allows you to only concentrate on the movement of your body, instead of all the things that cause you to stress. The resulting energy and optimism that you get from exercising regularly can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
3) It improves your mood: Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with
mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also improves sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and
Whatever you do, don't think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your regular routine. According to the Chief Medical Officers of the department of health in London, “However you decide to become physically active it should: be enjoyable; help increase your confidence and perhaps skills; and feel like a positive choice you are making for yourself.”
Plato said: “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”Participation in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can help play a role in preventing mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those experiencing it. The old saying, "don't sweat the small stuff," is a saying you should try to embrace!!
1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. 1998-2014. Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. [Online] Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469?pg=2 [Accessed 24 February 2014]. 2. The American Institute of Stress. 50 Common signs and symptoms of stress. [Online] Available at: http://www.stress.org/stress-effects/[Accessed 24 February 2014].
3. Discovery Fit & Health. 2014. What are the physical effects of stress? [Online] Available at: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/stress-management/physical-effects-of-stress1.htm[Accessed 24 February 2014].
4. Washington State University Wellbeing. 2012. Stress management. [Online] Available at: http://wellbeing.wsu.edu/emotional/stress-management/[Accessed 24 February 2014].
5. Mental Health Foundation.2013. Let’s get physical: Mental Health Awareness Week 2013. [online] Available at: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/lets-get-physical-report.pdf[Accessed 24 February 2014].
6. Good Health. How does stress affect your health? [Online] Available at: http://www.good-health.co.uk/how-does-stress-affect-your-health/[Accessed 24 February 2014].
7. Department of Health PA, Health Improvement and Protection. 2011. Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London: Department of Health
8. Biology online. 2014. Homeostasis. [Online] Available: http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Homeostasis[Accessed 24 February 2014].