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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
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    284

    Using Exercise to Relieve Stress

    Most people know of the importance of exercise as a means of weight loss, strength gains, and increased endurance, but exercise can play a major role in the reduction of stress. Along with just stress relief, exercise can help improve mental health, emotion and mood.

    When you exercise, your body produces substances called endorphins. Endorphins are formed within the body to help relieve pain and induce a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Endorphins have a similar chemical structure to morphine. Release of these endorphins can make you fall asleep faster, and may help in the reduction of high blood pressure.

    When a stressful situation arises, the body undergoes some 1500 biochemical reactions. This is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. In prehistoric times, stress may have come by means of the threat of being eaten by something very large! The chemical changes in the body produced that “pumped up”, adrenaline rush feeling, preparing the body to fight the beast or run like heck! This was and is the means by which the built up byproducts of the chemical changes are released.

    Although traffic on the way to work, or knowing the in-laws are coming next week, hardly compare to the possibility of becoming lunch, the body still goes through the chemical changes in response to the stress. If a “fight or flight” action is not taken, the byproducts continue to circulate and can cause illness. Exercise is a perfect way to expel the problem.

    Changing the body’s chemical composition is not the only way that exercise can help alleviate stress, however. Stress can be caused by the expression or repression of anger. Exercise offers a target in which one may direct their anger. Try hitting a racquetball, golf ball, or punching bag. Go to a gym and lift some weights. Often times, “getting it out” can make some of that anger go away.

    Some forms of exercise have meditative similarities. Steady-state exercise (running long distances, swimming at a slow pace), may alter one’s state of consciousness as the deep breathing patterns maintained over a long period of time are similar to the breathing techniques used in meditation. Some runners experience a “high” feeling during or after a run.

    Exercise can also enhance one’s feelings of self-esteem. By participating in bouts of exercise, one tends to feel better knowing they are doing something for their health.
    Setting and overcoming goals can be a great tool in enhancing self-esteem. And don’t forget about improved body image. Perhaps the greatest self-esteem boost comes from fitting into a smaller size or seeing muscles where there once was flab!

    During stressful times, muscles contract. During exercise, muscles do work, releasing stored energy and allowing the muscles to return back to their resting state. This also happens with massage.

    Sometimes too little in one’s life can be stressful. It is natural for humans to seek out stimulation and excitement. Exercise provides a social opportunity, which can be of some stress relief. Bored with your daily routine? Run with a friend; join in on a pick-up basketball or volleyball game. HAVE FUN!


    BE CAREFUL!!

    There are some times that exercise itself can be stressful. If you are a competitive person, you may not want to engage in competitive exercise or sports as a means of relieving stress. If you are playing or competing against someone, you may lose! If you are trying to beat a personal best, you may not succeed! Keep this in mind if stress relief is a goal.

    When choosing your exercise, make sure that you pick something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t like to run, DON’T RUN! Try different exercises; talk to a Fitness Specialist. Exercise is more than treadmills and weight machines. Find out what you like to do, and do it!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Manchester, England
    Posts
    23
    Damn right, exercise sure relieves my stress. Its weird apparently to some of my friends, you try telling them that and their like..."you what?"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    4,424
    I think that's probably because a lot of people (myself included at one time) don't get past the initial phases of working out the atrophy from their muscles. For them, exercise = soreness and stiffness, not the positive benefits you get from longer term practice.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    From the D
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    I totally agree. My mood has completely changed. Now when I'm stressed from work I go run and it burns it all away.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    on the edge
    Posts
    4,505
    I have actually gotten upset enough about my performance in one sport, that I tried to take it out on myself in another activity and ended up injured.

    ie: bad night in the dojo, run home from there 5.7 miles too fast, and have knee or hip trouble for the next few days. Or worse, DEHYDRATE myself big time.

    ie: poor performance in skydiving, so I go to mountain bike and blow off steam, only to end up with scratches and scrapes from having temper tantrums in the woods.

    It's in changing the behavior. GREAT POST... thank you!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    455
    Quote Originally Posted by gymcoch View Post
    When a stressful situation arises, the body undergoes some 1500 biochemical reactions.
    This sounds like an incredibly huge number, but I wonder how many chemical reactions the body undergoes when asleep?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Building A Fortress
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    1,090
    Good read, and an old one from last year :P

    Exercise definitley relieves alot of my stress. Lifting, running, swimming, basketball-you name it and I feel alot better not only about myself, but just in general afterwards. Often times I have been either mad or upset about something, then went and got some PRs lifting, or went out and had a great run.

    The body=amazing

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    151
    masturbation lol

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,528
    For some reason, I feel a lot better after I do squats / dead lifts, but I don't get the same feeling on bench. Possibly because I really don't bench a whole lot.

    However, I do agree with the post. I feel a lot better after running some and lifting weights.

    However, there are many other stress relief programs. I find myself relaxed when I'm at the shooting range, don't know why when I'm sweaty afterwards. Coming to think about it, I really don't know why I'm so sweaty at the shooting range to begin with.

  11. #10
    davidjr74 is offline Request Title Change from Admin
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Maryland
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    2,441
    I max out on days I'm pissed off

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by gymcoch View Post
    When a stressful situation arises, the body undergoes some 1500 biochemical reactions. This is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. In prehistoric times, stress may have come by means of the threat of being eaten by something very large! The chemical changes in the body produced that “pumped up”, adrenaline rush feeling, preparing the body to fight the beast or run like heck! This was and is the means by which the built up byproducts of the chemical changes are released.

    First off, great article! I can only dream of being that well prosed in my writing.

    Anyway, I love this bit I excerpted about "fight or flight". This theory describes my attitude when dealing with stress to a 'T'. Being able to read this helps me find a little compassion for myself with the impulsiveness I often use to resolve problems. So thanks!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    2

    stress free by yoga

    Hi friend, do you know yoga is also helping us to over come from any stress. I think it should take more effective part than exercise if any body do it consistently. Though it is a sign of spirituality however by this you should get through on stress in which you going through.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    13
    Nicely written gymcoch! Exercise indeed can help minimize those stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol, etc..

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Perv Parlor
    Posts
    2,741
    I know for a fact I'd spontaneously combust if I didn't work out ...

    TOO ..... MUCH ..... STRESS .... KILLS.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    US of A
    Posts
    211
    yeah...it's a needed distraction

    that and having a sense of humor

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