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Exercise Can Relieve Your Stress and Anxiety

exercise can cure stress and anxietyYou’ve tried different medications, but they either don’t work, or they make you feel “off”. Maybe you just don’t like the idea of being on medication. Your answer?


Obviously, don’t go and just stop taking your medication because of this article. The point I’m trying to make is that working out is a great stress reliever.

Exercise Releases Endorphins

Endorphins, short for endogenous morphine, are feel-good chemicals (opioid peptides) that your body releases in response to certain things – exercise, orgasm, pain, and love to name a few. Working out is pain, but in a good way. If you are pushing yourself hard enough, your body will release endorphins in response to stress being placed on the body.

These endorphins are a great stress reliever. If you’ve ever noticed how good you feel after a hard workout, this is what’s responsible for it. The so-called “runner’s high” that happens after strenuous exercise causes a release of endorphins to deal with the stress of going beyond your body’s physical limits. Push beyond your natural mental and physical limitations, and your body will respond by rewarding you with feelings of euphoria and happiness. With all the stresses being thrown at us in life, and the anxiety that accompanies it, exercise can help to distract us and channel that energy into something positive.

Link Between Depression and Obesity

There is a strong link between depression and obesity. What came first – the chicken or the egg? Did obesity cause depression, or did depression cause obesity? There’s evidence that both instances can occur, but I’d be willing to bet that more times than not that depression leads to putting on some pounds. People stress eat and eat to feel better because of feelings of depression. Exercise can help relieve that depression by putting you into a better state of mind and by improving your well-being. Looking and feeling good is always a good motivator to eat healthy and stay active. And people feel their best when they’re healthy.

Here are 50 more health benefits of exercise. Bet you didn’t know all 50!

Research has shown that exercise is linked to a higher resilience of stress. It provides your body a sort of natural armor against the negativity in the world. The Department of Psychology in Zurich reports:

Eighteen elite sportsmen, 50 amateur sportsmen, and 24 untrained men were exposed to a standardized psychosocial laboratory stressor (Trier Social Stress Test). Repeated measures of salivary free cortisol, heart rate, and psychological responses to psychosocial stress were compared among the 3 study groups. Elite sportsmen exhibited significantly lower cortisol, heart rate, and state anxiety responses compared with untrained subjects.

Exercise has too many benefits to name. But if you’re feeling a little down, give some physical activity a shot. You never know, one day you might even start saving some money from the medication you’re taking.

More money, better body, less stress, better health, more confidence – why wouldn’t you give it a try?

  • Deanna

    I was on depression medication for years until I began a regular exercise program and haven’t needed it again since. And not to mention the medication just made me feel numb, exercise makes me feel alive and happy.

  • Donna B.

    I’ve heard this for years but unfortunately haven’t been able to exercise like I wanted to due to physical limitations. Now that I’ve lost a lot of weight and had my total knee replacement done, I’m looking forward to exercising more in 2012 , and hopefully reducing my stress/anxiety as well :) Thanks for the well-written article.

    • Coach Calorie

      Thanks for the comment Donna, and good luck with your health this year!

      • Donna B.

        thank you very much! now that my knee replacement is behind me (about a month now) I think my health will begin to improve dramatically as my mobility increases and my pain decreases :)

  • Jeffery Ewald

    I believe that proper exercise, along with heating the right foods, is the sure fire way to help cure stress and anxiety. The unfortunate thing is that we all seem to fall flat and do not keep a standard routine on a daily basis. Nice article!

    • Coach Calorie

      Diet and exercise can only help!

  • Jeannette Laframboise

    I agree completely with this as it has happened to me several times for a few different reasons. When I am feeling particularly tired and/or sluggish due to stress, exercise perks me up. I am not one to get really anxious too often but when there is a lot of stress in my life I find exercise helps. I honestly thought that it was just taking my mind off of what was bothering me which is likely true in part. Frankly, I thought that the endorphin release was related to pain only. Guess you learn something new every day…Great post!

    • Coach Calorie

      I find that exercise both takes my mind off problems, and is also physically healing. Weight training is my yoga.

  • Wendy T

    I realize that you say “can cure” and not “does cure” and while you later go on to say that your cure is exercise, I am a bit miffed by this post frankly.

    Your points are valid (and I do acknowledge you saying not to just stop taking your meds as a result of reading this), I just don’t find it to be so black and white. I am coming at this from my own perspective of course…..but as someone who has a mental disability related to what you write – I wouldn’t fool myself into thinking I can just go run a few miles and be all better.

    • Coach Calorie

      Exercise can only help Wendy. That is the message to take away from this post and study.

  • Christine L

    I have been trying to tell my husband this for at least one year not. He is in a managerial role where he gets all the stress of his employees as well as handling the problems of managers above him. He barely has time for lunch, much less a routine exercise habit. I know it is best in the long run but he is having a hard time dealing with everything including me telling him to change his routine.

  • Donna B.

    Well, I’ve taken the first step and signed up for water aerobic classes – it’s only once a week for the next 16 weeks, but I figure as my mobility increases (and my pain decreases) then I can start to incorporate other stuff into my week. i’m looking forward to getting out of this funk I’ve been in for the last few months – bring on the endorphins!!

  • Jonathan | WorldOfDiets

    In my university days I used to solve math problems while running a 10K (or more) run. My head was never as clear as it was during those runs and I was very calm too.

  • Sasha W

    I have never been on medication but I definitely feel energized and great after a good work out so I can relate. Great article!!

  • Yena

    Probably for your body produces endorphin as a reaction to any action that you take. It’s not really that effective like it was a pain killer that once induces will instantly give you a relief but at least it lessens up your feeling of stress.

  • Dionne

    I am under stress and anxiety would u think exercise would really help me. thanks

    • Coach Calorie

      Yes Dionne, it’s very likely that exercise will help you. Always consult your Dr before starting an exercise program though.

  • dionne

    I am a very small person 5’9 and weight 115 pounds. I will like some advise on how to exercise so I wouldn’t lose weight. thanks.

    • Coach Calorie

      The key for you is going to be to keep your calories up and to strength train. You’ll have to play with the numbers, but a calorie intake around 1800 for your size would be a good starting point.

  • Kasia

    This is beyond true

  • Irza Abrazaldo-Benavides

    So true..exercise gives me strength even while going through chemo and radiation so far!. Not exercising as hard like I used to because of the meds. BUT when I exercise I see a bug difference in my energy level for tge rest of the day. Plus I learned that Cancer hates oxygen!.. we need to be more aerobic in Nature!
    Irza RN Chino Hills, CA.

    • Coach Calorie

      That’s great to hear Irza! I’m glad exercise is helping you, and I wish you luck in your battle!

  • Jamie

    Exercise is the only thing that helped me with “baby blues”. I would be so uptight and depressed before a workout, but I was able to let go of all that garbage by the end. High intensity workouts seriously change your frame of mind. I’m still working on the weight loss after number three, but I’m getting there. This site really helped me simplify :)

  • Coach Calorie

    Glad it’s helping Jamie, and happy to hear you found a natural answer to your problem.